Gaming spotlight – What was supposed to star at the AHG

With the unprecedented shutdown of the AHG, I thought it was time to turn the spotlight onto what was supposed to star at the AHG. What the main manufacturers were going to be showcasing and what we will be looking for as our point of difference in our gaming floors when we reopen.


Having been the dominant for so long, Aristocrat are showing no signs of slowing down. With the release of the Mars cabinet they are very conscious of not leaving behind the investment many venues have made in the Helix, Helix+ and Helix X (black) cabinets. The Mars cabinet brings with it Gen 9 capability, a slim side profile and customisable lighting. Some new titles are not being released on the Mars box, whilst some like Players Choice Royal are being released across all 4 cabinets. In the coming 12 months there are 20 titles being released on Mars and an equal 20 on the Helix.

Looking to build on the successful game strategies of the past Aristocrat have some exciting games in their 12 month pipeline. Games which mix up the Hold and Spin favorites and match with choose your own feature (think 5 dragons) or repeat wins (think Big Red) or due for release around AGE Multi screen feature (think More Chilli). It is very apparent that Aristocrat do not want to be boxed into their own Dragon and Lightning success and are out to prove they have more than those 2 families in their repertoire.


Looking to build on the success of the All Aboard success, they have brough out a Multi game and it’s a good option as there are 3 of the more successful games under the title – Dynamite Dollars, Piggy Pays and Go West. Two other game titles Thai Treasures and Prosperous Panda are set to be released March April taking the All Aboard game titles to 8. The focus of the show for Konami will be Bull Rush. Taking all their learnings from the All Aboard games, the Bull Rush titles are still a time on device machine, BUT they are also targeted at the higher end players with the removal of the 20cent game and the introduction of the $1. They have removed the 4th SAP bonus but introduced a second Jackpot Level. The key feature on this game library is the splitting scatter which counts as 2 out of the 3 symbols needed to trigger free games. The Money Trails library in the Stack cabinet continue to perform well with 4 titles now under the family.


Releasing their first Hold and Spin game at the AHG, IGT is pulling on the strong game libraries of the past to help propel this game family into the spotlight. The Fireball families will be initially released with Money Beans, Jewel or Arabia and Blue Moon II. Product diversification is a strong focus for IGT in the next 12 months. They are determined to ensure they have a wide range of product to fit all game players and not just the top 20% of the floor. If you look closely IGT will probably have a machine to fit a gap that you currently have on your floor. Stand alone product under the extra change premium banner that has a 25 cent cost to cover all lines will be attractive to a club’s traditional day time player who want a true time on device game. The Fortune Coin and Fortune Charm machines will play well in the Asian market, the Legends series in a pub market and the Bubble Blast game titles are still holding over 1.1 of the floor average and have 2 additional titles coming in the first 2 quarters for the year.


Launching their new cabinet A Star last month, the team at Ainsworth are excited to be turning a corner with both cabinet and game design. The much needed upgrade to a 27” game screen and a much more appealing profile, the A star cabinet will fit well into any gaming room. The Pan Chang titles are all approved and the star of the A Star launch. The first two titles to come from this family are Long and Happy life and Endless Fortune. With the ability to win multiple features and jackpot features, it will see the player consistently engaged and looking for the next feature trigger. Released in only 1c – 10c denominations it also takes out the higher volatility for clubs of the high demon games. The Rise up titles are also going to be a focus of the A Star cabinet and are due for release in May.

Ainsworth have openly acknowledged the disappointing performance of the past and are offering a buy back scheme on the 560 cabinets (which are 10+ years old) A great opportunity for any clubs still holding the older cabinets. There are also some better performing games which will suit a conversion strategy for some venues including the introduction of the Crazy Jackpots Multi Game in the SAP and the Lucky Break games, in particular Krakatoa which is still performing well.

Scientific Games

The DualosX cabinet continues to perform strongly since its release in July last year. Monopoly Tycoon still holds strong across many venues. The focus for Scientific this AHG will be Kraken Unleased. With a transformic reel that allows the Hold and Spin symbols to drop one row after each spin until they drop off the screen will certainly add to the excitement and anticipation factors for the players. The second locked screen in the Kraken feature unlocks on average 1 in 4 times, so the player sees the screen of Treasure Chest Hold and Spin symbols fill up frequently and the ability to win a large prize including jackpots ion the second screen will work well for players. Penny Pier continues to perform 1.1 floor average and the next two game titles look even better than the first. Rising Riches continues to fill the place of the Locked and Loaded product with 4 game titles now under the family and Hot Hot Jackpots titles take the Action Spins features and crosses them with a Hold and Spin game.


With the strong performance of the Mueso 27 cabinet Aruze have some great game diversity within their portfolio. Wild Tales, Magical Night and Jack Beans are the current best performers with high volatility. A full Multi Game offering with the inclusion of the $1 and $2 denominations. Their Hold and Spin offering Bound for Riches (which is a train and Chinese themed game) which is also a full Multi game with $1 and $2 denominations which is sure to fit in well on any gaming floor. For the entry level of your gaming room there is no going past African Blaze. It has low volatility with a Multi game range of 1c – 10 c (meaning that your hold as a venue will be far more stable). Finally their Cannonball family and Ancient realm continue to perform well and are a great starting point for daytime play.

With all this mind think about what your gaming room is currently lacking – go back to the monopoly board analogy – what parts of town are you not catering for and which of the above games will provide that for you? Now is the time to go through your gaming with a fine tooth comb, and look at purchase, conversion and move strategies to ensure that on day 1 your gaming room is ready for EVERYONE who comes in your doors, not just the high end of town.