September 30, 2011

Sports-Betting Kiosks Promise Easy Way to Wager

Golden Gaming, which owns PT's Pubs, PT's Gold and Sierra Gold Taverns, is setting up sports- betting kiosks which will allow people to bet on sports at the bar.

Sports-Betting Kiosks Promise Easy Way to Wager

LAS VEGAS -- A new system being launched at a chain of pubs in Las Vegas is being called the future of sports betting.

Golden Gaming, which owns PT's Pubs, PT's Gold and Sierra Gold Taverns, is setting up sports- betting kiosks which will allow people to bet on sports at the bar.

"We are taking people that would normally go out to a tavern on the weekends, Saturday college games, Sunday pro-games and Monday night games and say 'hey, here's this great little feature,'" said Golden Gaming CEO Steve Arcana.

Arcana says they wanted to create a quick, convenient and easy way for their customers to wager on games while enjoying drinks or food at one of their many pubs.

They came up with the kiosk idea. Customers sign up, put money on their membership card and wager with just a swipe.

It is already in use in 15 locations and 700 people have already signed up for the cards.

Some sports books are questioning whether the kiosks are legal. A gaming expert says they are legal on a trial basis.

"It was approved by the board, on a two-year basis. The arrangement they made is that they would permit this to go on for two years. It would be observed by the Gaming Control Board. The evaluation would be made at that time. They will determine whether they will continue to approve it or find problems with it," said Ray Poireir with Gaming Today Magazine.

Arcana says the kiosks are just like betting from a cell phone, a Blackberry or a computer which is perfectly legal for account wagering; therefore, there should not be any problems with the kiosks.

Golden Gaming says it plans to expand the kiosks to its 22 other locations within the next few months.

Sports-Betting Kiosks Promise Easy Way to Wager

Posted by staff at 02:36 PM

December 17, 2009

Best Buy aims kiosks at gamers

Another jumps into the market, this time in Georgia. In addition to trade-ins, the kiosks will rent DVDs for a $1 a day, plus tax, and sell games and videos — a swipe at NetFlix and Blockbuster. [photo]

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It’s about 7 feet tall, dressed in blue and has a friendly interface. It will let customers trade in their video games and movies in exchange for store credit.

Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.coman Jim Howard, general manager of the Best Buy at Cumberland, demonstrates how to use the video and game kiosk. Customers can buy, rent or trade in games and movies and the gift card can be redeemed for anything items in the store.
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It has no formal name, but call it a new hope for Best Buy to gain market share, sales and customers from Wal-Mart and GameStop.

In addition to trade-ins, the kiosks will rent DVDs for a $1 a day, plus tax, and sell games and videos — a swipe at NetFlix and Blockbuster.

Georgia is one of two test markets for the Best Buy kiosks. Texas is the other.

Certainly, a lot is at stake in this battle over virtual entertainment.

Sales of video games and consoles grew to $18.8 billion in 2008, a 20 percent increase from 2007, said David Magee, a retail analyst in Atlanta with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. About 17 percent of Best Buy’s revenue comes from entertainment software, according to its annual report.

Some of the shine is coming off the sector, however, Magee said, as the price of game consoles came down, the recession deepened and some game launches were delayed. Despite the record-breaking November launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, “This year, we’re looking for sales to be about $18 billion, so flat to down,” Magee said.

He thinks Best Buy will not be able to accomplish with a kiosk what GameStop is doing with its personable service at its stores.

“Best Buy is a great company and will get some slice of share from somebody, but they’ll have a hard time getting a meaningful share from GameStop,” he said.

He explained GameStop’s sophisticated software calculates the trade-in price of a video game based on how that title is anticipated to sell. The company has developed this algorithm over many years. A kiosk, said Magee, can’t do that.

GameStop certainly has a head start. The Grapevine, Texas-based company has been specializing in the buying, selling and trading of used games for more than 15 years. The chain had $1.83 billion in sales in the third quarter, an 8.2 increase over the same period a year ago. The company has been adding about 200 U.S. stores a year.

GameStop even tried and discarded the idea of self-serve kiosks. The test market? Atlanta.

“We got away from them because the consumer didn’t really have a great response to them,” said Paul Raines, chief operating officer and the former head of U.S. stores at Atlanta-based Home Depot.

Still, he said of the Best Buy experiment, “We are watching very closely.” In general, however, he said, “We have not seen a significant impact to the used business from all the new entries [to the market]. They tend to be really splashy announcements, but we don’t see impacts over time.”

Best Buy would be the first to admit the kiosks are experimental. They are being tested in 23 of 30 Georgia stores, and 39 stores in the Houston and Dallas markets. Company spokeswoman Erin Bix was somewhat vague on answers to certain questions, saying she “can’t comment too much on the tests.”

She would say, however, that customers led the charge for the trade-in service at the 10th largest U.S. retailer.

Best Buy store manager Jim Howard at the store on Cobb Parkway in Marietta said there has been a learning curve.

“Customers are asking questions,” he said. The machine is located by the cash registers, near the door.

Best Buy hasn’t done much advertising around the kiosks — yet — so for now the company is relying on word-of-mouth and outreach from the sales clerks, especially in the gaming section. Bix said Best Buy will start advertising locally after Christmas.

“The response from customers has been very positive,” Howard said. For him, success will be repeat business at the machines, which will drive more customers into his store. The credit is good for any store merchandise, not just games, he emphasized, noting that is an important aspect for parents (wink, wink, Mom). “They are still in the store, so they will hopefully buy something else,” he said.

rest of story

Posted by staff at 08:54 AM

March 06, 2009

Video game rental kiosks

gameflykiosk-120.jpg Students at Texas Tech University have an all-new way to get a quick video game fix, as GameFly installs their first G-Box video game rental kiosk.


Online video game rental leader GameFly takes a small step offline with the introduction of their G-Box rental kiosk, which allows gamers to swipe their credit cards for instant gaming gratification, much like the DVD rental kiosks that have been popping up all over the country lately. The G-Box will stock the latest games for the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, allowing players to rent as long as they want for $2.49 a day ($1.99 for Wii titles), with an option to rent-to-own.
"The kiosk program is a way to extend the GameFly universe into the physical world," said Sean Spector, co-founder and senior vice president of business development and content for GameFly.

gameflykiosk.jpg

The kiosk, located in the on-campus Barnes & Noble bookstore, is only the first step in building up GameFly's physical presence, with the company planning to roll units out around the country.
"I think it'll allow students who don't have the ability to get out to a Blockbuster to rent games," (Spector) said. "Students who live in dorms or are on campus more often will have the ability to get recent releases."
So what do you think? $2.49 doesn't seem like too much to pay for a day with a new game. If anything it makes for an excellent try before you buy opportunity for titles released without demos. Would you rent a game from a machine?

Posted by staff at 06:59 AM

January 31, 2008

Wagering Betting Kiosks -- March Madness and Super Bowl

Betting terminals now being termed kiosks. Sports book operator Leroy's is testing its self-service betting kiosks inside sports bars and restaurants. The idea is to allow Leroy's customers with telephone wagering accounts to bet on sporting events without having to visit a sports book.

ReviewJournal.com - Business - Kiosks just in time for kickoff

Kiosks just in time for kickoff

Self-service booths will enable Super Bowl bets without visit to sports book

By HOWARD STUTZ
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Casual and serious gamblers hungry to bet on the Super Bowl or other events have another outlet.

Sports book operator Leroy's is testing its self-service betting kiosks inside sports bars and restaurants. The idea is to allow Leroy's customers with telephone wagering accounts to bet on sporting events without having to visit a sports book.

"We view this as a convenient service for our customers," Leroy's spokesman John Salerno said.

The first location in Southern Nevada is at the Stadium Grille in Henderson. The kiosks are also being used at a few similar establishments in Reno.

Super Bowl XLII kicks off Sunday, but Leroy's executives hope to have a larger rollout throughout the valley by the time the popular and heavily wagered NCAA basketball tournament takes place in March.

"We really hope to be up and running strong by March Madness," Salerno said.

Leroy's, which began its sports and wagering life as a small and smoky stand-alone downtown betting parlor, is now high-tech. The company operates race and sports books in 61 casinos throughout Nevada. Many of the Leroy's locations have betting kiosks, which connect to a central server that updates betting lines and odds.

Wagering at the kiosk is the same as betting at a Leroy's sports counter.

To use the betting kiosk outside of a casino, customers need to establish telephone wagering accounts with Leroy's. Customers then use an account number and password to place wagers.

Nevada gaming regulators approved the concept as long as the kiosks are placed in age-restricted locations, such as bar areas, that are accessible only by patrons aged 21 or older.

The restaurant, bar or tavern must have an approved restricted gaming license to operate 15 slot machines.

"It's an extension of telephone wagering," Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said. "Leroy's approached us with the concept for approval."

Neilander said another company tried a similar concept a few years ago, but the idea failed, mainly because customers were charged a fee to place wagers.

Jim Desio, owner of the Stadium Grille, said the kiosk differentiates his tavern from similar locations.

"It really completes us as a sports bar and allows us to offer customers a full package," Desio said.

During football weekends, Desio said customers might leave at halftime or in between games to place a wager. Now, he hopes to keep the business at home.

"It's much more convenient for patrons," Desio said.

Leroy's officials said the kiosks could increase the company's handle on halftime wagering during professional and college football season.

Desio met Leroy's Chairman Vic Salerno in July at the Stadium Grille's opening celebration. Salerno approached him with the concept. During the current testing period, Desio said, the Stadium Grille is not receiving any rental fee or stipend for allowing the kiosk to be in the tavern. He said he eventually expects to collect a fee.

John Salerno said a payment system is still being developed, but taverns with the kiosks could earn a percentage of the wagers placed.

"That way, there's an incentive for the bar owner to drive customer traffic to the kiosks," Salerno said.

Desio said offering the sports wagering kiosks might help tavern owners recover some of the business they lost when a ban on smoking was enacted a year ago. He said the Stadium Grille opened after the smoking ban took effect, so "we really didn't have a captive audience before the ban."

Leroy's is a subsidiary of American Wagering, which is publicly traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol BETM. Through its subsidiaries, American Wagering manages race and sports books and sells and services race and sports book computer systems.

In the third quarter of 2007, ended Oct. 31, American Wagering reported revenue of $5.1 million and an operating profit of $950,000.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or (702) 477-3871.

Posted by staff at 09:20 AM

January 21, 2008

Gaming Content - EA Shifts Strategy

ea-game.jpg EA finally goes multiple revenue mode with announcement of new spinoff of Battlefield series that is easier, downloaded from internet, last 15 minutes and adopts the cartoon motif that TF2 and others now use.

It was a matter of time and good to see as this opens up new platform content which before now was troublesome to use at best.

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The Video Game May Be Free, but to Be a Winner Can Cost Money

By SETH SCHIESEL
Published: January 21, 2008

Ever since John Riccitiello took over last year as chief executive of Electronic Arts, the video game industry bellwether, he has promised to revitalize the company with new games and new ways of reaching consumers. Now, that may be happening.

John Riccitiello has said E.A. would try new approaches.

In a major departure from its traditional business model, E.A. plans to announce Monday that it is developing a new installment in its hit Battlefield series that will be distributed on the Internet as a free download. Rather than being sold at retail, the game is meant to generate revenue through advertising and small in-game transactions that allow players to spend a few dollars on new outfits, weapons and other virtual gear.

At a conference in Munich, the company intends to announce that the new game, Battlefield Heroes, will be released for PC this summer. More broadly, E.A. hopes the game can help point the way for Western game publishers looking to diversify beyond appealing to hard-core players with games that can cost $60 or more.

E.A.’s most recent experiment with free online games began two years ago in South Korea, the world’s most fervent gaming culture. In 2006, the company introduced a free version of its FIFA soccer game there, and Gerhard Florin, E.A.’s executive vice president for publishing in the Americas and Europe, said it has signed up more than five million Korean users and generates more than $1 million in monthly in-game sales.

Players can pay not only for decorative items like shoes and jerseys but also for boosts in their players’ speed, agility and accuracy. Mr. Florin said that while most users do not buy anything, a sizable minority ends up spending $15 to $20 a month.

With Battlefield Heroes, E.A. hopes to bring that basic system of “microtransactions” to Western players, along with increased advertising. Mr. Florin said the licensing agreements around the soccer game prevent E.A. from inserting in-game advertisements from companies that are not already sponsors of FIFA, the international soccer federation. By contrast, E.A. already owns the Battlefield franchise and will be free to insert whatever advertising it wants.

The game industry is booming worldwide, largely on the strength of two trends: a demographic expansion of the gaming population beyond the traditional young male audience and the rising popularity of online play.

Electronic Arts, once the industry leviathan, has not taken full advantage of those shifts. Meanwhile, one of E.A.’s main competitors, Activision, is riding high on the strength of the mass-market Guitar Hero series and has agreed to merge with Vivendi’s games division, which makes the world’s most popular online game, World of Warcraft.

With Battlefield Heroes, E.A. is trying to capitalize on both trends at once. Not only will Heroes be distributed online, but also it is meant to provide a simpler, more accessible entertainment experience than the relatively complex earlier Battlefield games. The combat-oriented series has sold about 10 million copies since the 2002 debut of the franchise’s first game, Battlefield 1942.

“The existing Battlefield games are fairly deep; you have to be pretty good or you’ll die pretty quick,” Mr. Florin said Friday in a telephone interview from Geneva. “Now we’ve toned down the difficulty, shortened each game session to 10 or 15 minutes and made the visual style more cartoony.”

Strategically, Mr. Florin said the game was a step toward figuring out how to generate multiple revenue streams from a single intellectual property, a maneuver Hollywood has mastered.

“I’ve always envied the movie industry when they put a film out in the cinema, then they go to retail with a different business model and then to pay television and then free TV,” he said. “They have the same content reaching different audiences with different models, and we could never figure out a way to do that. Now with higher broadband penetration, we can use the technology to reach a broader audience.”

Not to mention the fact that popular games distributed online can be more profitable than games sold at retail, a prime driver of the Activision-Vivendi deal. Across China and South Korea, where online games dominate the market, game companies are generating profits far beyond their Western counterparts’ returns.

“The Activision-Vivendi deal changes the landscape for how investors will look at game companies, and that puts pressure on everyone else,” Ben Schachter, an Internet and game company analyst at UBS Securities, said Friday.

“Before it was a battle for a few operating margin points here and there,” Mr. Schachter said, “but when you look at the Asian companies like Shanda or something like World of Warcraft, you talking about a 40 percent operating margin business, which is just in a different league from the U.S. companies. So the U.S. publishers like E.A. have to be looking at those models with envious eyes, and those companies will have to experiment.”

Mr. Florin declined to name names but did say that if Battlefield Heroes is a success, E.A. would soon look to create free downloadable versions of some its other marquee games as well.

Perhaps the prime candidate would be the company’s flagship Madden series, for which sales have slowed. Traditional versions of Madden are extremely complicated, but a simplified downloadable version would be expected to appeal to millions of more casual players.

Posted by staff at 11:08 AM

January 18, 2008

Kiosk Case Study: Multiuser Stations for Internet access

dia-zoox-100.jpgMultistation or Multi-user stations and kiosks are beginning to emerge as significant market particularly with advances in thin client services. Included here is nice picture of multi-user stations installed at Denver International Airport.

Louisville, CO – January 21, 2008

The Procrastinator’s Dream - Denver International Airport (DIA) Now Offers Self-Service Business Centers in Main Terminal

Waiting to board a flight in Denver has never been so productive. Catering to the stringent time demands of today’s road warriors, Denver International Airport (DIA) is expanding services designed specifically for business travelers. ZOOX Stations, Inc. and RMES Communications, the prime contractor, have recently teamed up on self-service kiosk installations that provide passengers a full complement of office services throughout all concourses and the main terminal.

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Armed with nothing more than ideas and a credit card, passengers can now sit down to state of the art office terminals with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. High-speed laser printers, media drives, USB ports, and laptop charging equipment provide a turnkey self-service business center on the road. The kiosks are designed for comfortable extended use; featuring a seated station, traditional office keyboard & mouse, and a 17” flat panel monitor. The enclosed booth design and privacy filters on the screens provide passengers all the necessary security to confidently tackle even the most confidential content.

In addition to the full application suite, clients can readily access high-speed Internet to efficiently manage email or distribute their work. And for those that really work best under pressure, there are also popular gaming options on these machines. While not as fully loaded at the neighboring ZOOX Stations PC Game Cafes, a complete range of casual user games are available on the business center machines as well.

The business center kiosk (commercially branded as ZOOX WORX) is the creation of ZOOX Stations, a Louisville based division of KIOSK Information Systems, the largest manufacturer of self-serve terminals in the world. ZOOX Stations was incorporated in 2006 as a subsidiary dedicated to development of cutting edge new products in the pay-for-use environment. According to Rick Malone, President of KIOSK and ZOOX Stations, “RMES Communications and DIA have beautifully equipped Denver passengers with a full range of self-service business and entertainment options. It’s consistent with the high-end passenger focus DIA is known for. The profitability and quick adoption of the equipment is a natural extension of a well-developed service offering.”

There are currently 64 ZOOX Stations Game Cafes and four business center kiosks located in the concourses and main terminal. RMES Communications and KIOSK Information Systems are currently evaluating expanding services in other selected airport locations.

About ZOOX Stations, Inc.:
ZOOX Stations manufactures & designs cutting edge business, entertainment and gaming platforms. The library of games includes titles from Microsoft, EA, Valve, Ubisoft and other prime leading developers. The products are completely turnkey, but are available in custom branded configurations. Complete installation, service, remote monitoring and activity tracking is provided. Call 1-888-661-1697 for more information or visit www.zooxstations.com.

ZOOX Stations, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of KIOSK Information Systems. Kiosk is the world leader in design, manufacturing, service and support of indoor and outdoor kiosks, public Internet stations and other electronic self-service informational terminals. KIOSK is the OEM manufacturer of self-service terminals for WalMart, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Sony Photo, US Transportation Security Administration, and many others. www.kiosk.com.

For more information on multi-user multi-station thin clients visit http://www.thinclient.org

Posted by staff at 11:27 AM

December 26, 2007

Games Changing this year

Is it any surprise the after years of more complex controllers and complex games that more simple motion control "joysticks" such as Wii and Guitar Hero are the real smash hits of the holiday season?

The Wii, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have found huge success, in part, by delivering new experiences with new devices for connecting to and controlling games. It would be tough to feel like Keith Richards while mashing buttons on a typical controller, but with a plastic Guitar Hero ax slung around your shoulder, you're there.


Portals - WSJ.com

Videogames Expand
A Popular New Phase
Of Full-Body Playing
By NICK WINGFIELD
December 26, 2007; Page B1

If you gave or got videogames as gifts yesterday, you may have noticed something very different about how some of the hottest ones are played these days.

The top-selling game console at the moment -- and one of this holiday season's toughest finds on store shelves -- is Nintendo's Wii, which comes with a motion-sensing controller that gamers swing around to play tennis or to dice up opponents with virtual swords. Guitar Hero III, the music game sensation, comes with a guitar-shaped controller for jamming along to the Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses and other groups. Another music hit, Rock Band, goes even further with guitar, microphone and drum-kit controllers.

What these products have in common is that they reject the conventional wisdom about how people want to play games. For years, the business focused on dazzling users with ever-more-sophisticated eye candy, paying little heed to the fact that they were shutting out large numbers of potential customers with games that were just too hard to play.

The conventional game controller -- that boomerang-shaped gadget you hold -- is a symptom of the complexity. With more than a dozen buttons and two joysticks, they look like you need a pilot's license to operate one.

The Wii, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have found huge success, in part, by delivering new experiences with new devices for connecting to and controlling games. It would be tough to feel like Keith Richards while mashing buttons on a typical controller, but with a plastic Guitar Hero ax slung around your shoulder, you're there.

Game companies have experimented with unconventional controllers for years, but a lot of them were clunkers that didn't sell well like the Power Glove, a device introduced in 1989 that let users control Nintendo games with simple hand motions. It's only recently that the commercial success of the Wii and other products has helped foster a golden age for game interface development. Nintendo just released a product in Japan called the Wii Balance Board, a pressure-sensitive device that users stand on to perform yoga, aerobics and other exercises as the Wii critiques their balance and encourages them to get fit.

Richard Marks, a senior researcher at Sony's games division, spends much of his time imagining new ways for consumers to interact with games. Dr. Marks created the technology behind the EyeToy, a camera that plugged into Sony's PlayStation 2. The EyeToy inserts the moving image of a player into a game, letting them do fun stuff like give a karate chop to enemies.

These days, Dr. Marks's team at Sony has created a demonstration for the PlayStation 3 that allows players to sketch drawings with standard pen and paper, scan them with a camera and then "play" their drawings on screen.

Such technology could help games tap into the same creative energy at play on YouTube and other sites with user-made content, Dr. Marks says. "Our game industry is really good at making authored experiences, but there's a new area that hasn't been explored, where people want to make their own content," he adds.

One of Dr. Marks's dreams is to be able to use a camera for live-motion capture in peoples' living rooms. For example, he'd like to see his son suited up as Spider-Man on screen, shooting webs from his hands by performing the same hand gesture as his hero.

It may be some years before game consoles are up to such computing challenges, but part of the technology required for such feats, so-called 3D cameras, is getting ready to hit the market at consumer-friendly prices. Next year, an Israeli camera maker, 3DV Inc., plans to introduce a 3D camera for less than $100. It's a more-sophisticated version of the motion detection done today by the Wii, which gives users a wand-shaped controller to hold as they play games.

In the boxing game that comes with the Wii, the console does a so-so job of measuring when players use their fists to punch opponents. A boxing game using 3DV's camera focused on the players from atop a TV set, allows users to hit an opponent with far greater accuracy, and to duck a punch.

Zvika Klier, CEO of 3DV, says the camera also will be useful for controlling avatars in online games. In most online games today, for example, you make a character dance by hitting a button on a keyboard or controller. With a 3D camera, players could simply dance in their living rooms to make their avatars dance.

Even movement itself may one day be optional. San Francisco start-up, Emotiv Systems, has come up with a method of measuring the electrical activity of the brain through a helmet-like device so users can control action in games by just thinking "up," "down" and other simple actions. Emotiv says this system won't replace the precision and responsiveness of traditional controllers, but it could be a great way to augment the experience of, say, fantasy games where mind control is part of the picture.

So, players of a Star Wars game may some day be able to "lift" an object by telekinesis, instead of hitting a button on a controller.

The Force may be with us.

Posted by staff at 01:40 PM

December 03, 2007

Mergers - Activision and Vivendi

Pretty big deal with World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty all now under one company. New company is Activision Blizzard and the transaction is valued at close to $19B. Net to Electronic Arts this is now the largest game company? Vivendi in Big Activision Deal - News & Analysis - Media - ATVI - ERTS

Posted by staff at 07:41 AM

September 13, 2007

Gaming Console Market -- Nintendo Passes Microsoft

Wii-2.jpgFinancial Times reported today a new leader in the next-generation consoles and it's Nintendo with its Wii. I can't remember the last time that Microsoft entered a market as new entrant, then took over and led the market, and then was overtaken (ie slipped back). Not the usual modus operandi. Says something about the Wii.


Report: Wii overtakes 360 in international sales - Source Link
Financial Times reports that, despite a year head start, Microsoft's console has fallen behind Nintendo's plucky box; PS3 running a distant third.
By Tor Thorsen, GameSpot
Posted Sep 12, 2007 5:42 pm PT

Today, the Financial Times reported that the three-way race between the next-generation consoles has a new frontrunner. Citing cumulative sales data through the end of July, the British newspaper's Japanese correspondent is claiming that the Nintendo Wii has now sold more units worldwide than the Xbox 360, despite the latter's year-long head start.

According to the Times, approximately 9 million Wiis were purchased across the globe as of July 31, just barely overtaking the 360's 8.9 million units sales during the same period. Both platforms were far ahead of the PlayStation 3, which sold only around an estimated 3.7 million units internationally.

If those numbers seem low, it's because they are for consoles that have been sold, not shipped. Typically, hardware makers tout the number of consoles they have shipped into the retail channels, not numbers of actual consoles sold. In July, Microsoft announced it had shipped 11.5 million 360s, short of its self-imposed 12 million-unit goal. In May, Sony said it produced 5.5 million PS3s worldwide, though it has since changed its tracking method to account for consoles sold instead of made. Reps for Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony had not responded to requests for comment on the Times piece as of press time.

If accurate, the Wii sales milestone is a watershed for Nintendo. Though it has consistently dominated the handheld market, the 9 million-unit figure would mark the first time since the Super Nintendo era that Nintendo can lay claim to the best-selling console of its generation.

After launching a year behind the PlayStation 2 in 2001, the GameCube slid into third place, falling behind the Xbox, which was launched at nearly the same time. According to Wedbush Morgan Securities estimates, the still-in-production PS2 sold 112 million units internationally as of April 2007. By comparison the now-discontinued Xbox and GameCube sold 23.1 million and 22.1 million units, respectively. Launched in late 1998, the Sega Dreamcast only sold 8.5 million units worldwide during its short lifetime.

The Mario Factory's previous console, the N64, was trounced by the then-upstart original PlayStation, selling an estimated 29.8 million to 85.7 million units through April 2007. The SNES sold 46.5 million units, versus the Sega Genesis' 25.8 million units.

Posted by staff at 08:13 AM

September 11, 2007

Gaming Market - HP Makes Foray into Game PC Hardware

blackbird.jpg A year after Dell bought Alienware and started getting into higher end multimedia desktop and laptops for gaming, here comes HP with its purchase of Voodoo. They have new $2500 system named Blackbird (which is or was coolest spy plane in the world). Interestingly, stats quoted say that more than half of Americans age 12-64 play some sort of electronic game every week, and 29% of them play games on PCs, compared with 24% who played consoles.


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The world's largest personal-computer companies are launching new and cheaper gaming PCs, in a move to take costly high-performance features -- previously of interest to only the most avid players -- to the masses.

Hewlett-Packard Co. yesterday launched the Blackbird 002 desktop PC, its first H-P-branded foray into the PC gaming market. The Palo Alto, Calif., company says the sleek, black system will start at $2,500. That's roughly half the cost of many high-end gaming PCs.
Rahul Sood, founder of Voodoo PC and chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard's gaming business, speaks about H-P's anticipated emergence into the gaming sector after acquiring the boutique computer vendor last year.

Gateway Inc., soon to be purchased by Acer Inc., plans to introduce a gaming PC in November called FX540 and follow up with gaming-oriented notebooks in January. And two makers introduced midrange machines in June: Toshiba Corp. launched its Satellite x205 series of gaming notebooks, starting at roughly $2,000. And Dell Inc. launched its XPS 720 gaming desktop, which starts at roughly $1,700.

Gaming on personal computers used to be confined to a niche of tech-savvy males and small PC manufacturers selling expensive specially made machines. With names like Falcon Northwest Computer Systems Inc., Alienware Corp. and Voodoo Computers Inc., these makers offer super-speedy systems with enhanced graphics capabilities craved by avid gamers, who are willing to shell out $5,000 and up.

Now gaming is catching on with a new group of consumers, including women, who like games that require decent graphics circuitry to work well, but don't require breaking the bank on high-end gaming systems. Even smaller boutique PC firms such as Velocity Micro Inc. are targeting more of the mainstream gamer. Velocity sells gaming PCs priced as low as $1,400 through Circuit City and Best Buy.
[photo]
The H-P "Blackbird" gaming PC starts at $2,500, much less than many high-end machines.

The target audience includes people like Thais Walsh. Ms. Walsh, a stay-at-home mother in Mansfield, Mass., plays an online role-playing game called Guild Wars. She enjoys interacting with other people online, often when her kids are napping. But when her 2003 desktop computer from Dell wasn't working well with the game, Ms. Walsh and her husband weren't willing to pony up for the high-end systems they saw. Instead, they just replaced the graphics card and main circuit board.

"I am not spending thousands of dollars on equipment and games," says Ms. Walsh, who would consider one of the new midrange gaming PCs next time around. "We have kids. We know where our responsibilities lie."

Despite the proliferation of cheaper options, consumers can still get more expensive configurations. Dell, which in 2006 purchased game specialist Alienware, in May introduced a high-end gaming desktop PC dubbed XPS 720 H2Cfor $5,389 and later this year plans to announce a notebook PC dubbed "the Beast," which is designed to show off videogame graphics.

But there's no question that the number of gaming PCs priced closer to $2,500 is exploding. "H-P is working to broaden the availability of game play for a much bigger audience," says Phil McKinney, chief technology officer for H-P's PC unit. H-P last year announced a deal to buy gaming boutique Voodoo Computers.

Popularity of PC Games

The growing interest in gaming goes beyond that of console systems such as Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360. According to a recent study from research firm Frank N. Magid Associates Inc., more than half of Americans age 12-64 play some sort of electronic game every week, and 29% of them play games on PCs, compared with 24% who played consoles.

Sales of PC games are expected to grow to $13 billion by 2012 from $7 billion in 2006, according to DFC Intelligence.

Read rest of story



Posted by staff at 12:59 PM

September 10, 2007

Sports Wagering Kiosk

Nice reference story "blast from the past" with 2004 story on Wagering stations for Vegas. The latest iteration is the Hooters iteration.

Sports Wagering Kiosk launched by ISI

It's a curiosity that in Las Vegas " a 24-hour town " there is no 24-hour sports book. Fans have had to limit their sports betting to the limited hours the books are open. That is changing, with the advent of the Sports Kiosk.

For the past five years, Internet Sports International Ltd. (ISI) has been working to perfect a sports gaming kiosk that is fan friendly and economically efficient for the domestic and international markets. After testing, tweaking and customer use in select sites, the sports gaming kiosks have been placed throughout the Las Vegas Valley, with particular emphasis in major casino sports books. This action was taken in conjunction with Las Vegas based and publicly traded American Wagering Inc. (Symbol - BETMQ).

William Stearns, ISI president, announces the kiosk allows sports bettors to place wagers on a myriad of sporting events 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

"ISI has developed a system that is user friendly and fast, allowing the bettor access to the same services he would expect at a window in any sports book in town," Stearns says. "The kiosk will be available in convenient locations in the casino and will be able to handle bets at any time, day or night. When overflow occurs during high betting periods, subjecting the bettor to the stress of not knowing if he will make the window before the last bet can be placed, it will be comforting to know that the sports gaming kiosk will be there for quick action."

Ernest C. Matthews, an attorney and co-owner of ISI, believes the design of the device enhances the ease of use for both the young and old bettor.

"We made the kiosk so that someone with some computer literacy would have fun accessing sports gaming," Matthews says. "Importantly, the technical folks over at AWI worked with us to develop a system that will make those less experienced - or with no computer experience at all - have a great time using the kiosk. During our test phase, we watched people of all legal ages step up to the kiosk and place bets with no problems in the least."

In addition to being user friendly, Matthews talks about the integrity of the system that has been developed to link the kiosks with the sports book operations.

"The kiosk has integrated a security system that ensures that the person placing the wager is the person registered with an account at that particular sports book," he says. "It was an essential component from the standpoint of the regulatory concerns expressed as the machine was being testing."

In fact, it was the regulatory issues that presented the most complicated challenges for ISI and American Wagering. Tim Lockinger, chief financial officer of AWI, says gaming regulators had to be confident that the kiosk could not be tampered with in any way that would allow for illegal gaming activities to be engaged when using the devise.

"We were provided a series of tests where the gaming regulators intentionally attempted to abuse the kiosk and its systems in a way to gain an illegal advantage or to perform an illegal action through the use of the kiosk.," Lockinger says. "We passed the test while retaining its essential user friendly features."

Stearns confirmed the official deployment of the kiosks began in January, after final passage of the regulatory tests.

"Currently, more than 15 sports books have accepted and installed the betting device for their customers," he says. "One location was so remote that the device will present the first opportunity for the locals there to participate in a hands-on sports book activity. The small casino and its patrons are very happy."

ISI has been working on a sports package overlay that will allow kiosk customers to access not only sports gaming but also sports information, handicapping services, sports memorabilia and even golf course reservations.

"We have worked out an agreement with some of the area's top golf courses to allow customers in the sports book or around the casino floor to conveniently place tee-time reservations through the kiosk network," Matthews says. "If the golfer is not familiar with a particular course, we have video data available to give him or her a better idea of the challenge ahead before the reservation is made."

Stearns believes the one-stop sports shop will be attractive for the casinos and their customers. In fact, to add to the information available to the kiosk customers, ISI has negotiated a horseracing component through a local company that provides archived race videos.

"This will allow a horse player to analyze a particular horse's past performance when making a bet on an upcoming race," he says.

Stearns says he is delighted that a number of services have been negotiated as add-ons, such as casinos selling tickets to their special events and shows through the kiosks.

"We want the casinos to consider our sports gaming kiosk to be another efficient "employee," providing numerous services that will make their guests' stay more enjoyable," he says.

This component has been given to AWI to go through the approval process before the Nevada Gaming Commission.
"Although we don't anticipate any problems, we want to go through the appropriate regulatory steps before releasing this additional service to the public," Lockinger says. "We think that this service will make the kiosks even more popular."

Other products being designed for the Nevada market include a sit-down kiosk that includes a built-in television monitor, a unit that already has regulatory approval.

Additionally, an in-room unit has been developed that will allow a hotel guest to place a sports wager from the comfort of his/her room once an account has been opened. This device has a fingerprint security system to keep unauthorized betters from using the unit. Stearns said this protective system -- will keep a dad from learning that his minor son had placed a bet in the room while the dad was away.

ISI also has negotiated with a computer tablet company to put its software on walk-around units. "If approved, casinos can give their high rollers the device as a courtesy to place sports bets while they walk around the casino floor, playing blackjack or sitting by the pool," Matthews says. "For others, the casino would charge a per-hour fee."

The second stage of development for ISI is in the international markets, according to Matthews.

"Once we have our kiosks in place and operational in Nevada, we intend to expand into other jurisdictions where sports gaming is legal," he says. "We wanted to have the entire network withstand the rigors of gaming commission approval in the most professional and highly regulated market we would find. If we were able to do it in Nevada, we would be able to take our system anywhere."

Matthews points out that the expansion would occur through company owned subsidiaries or through licensing agreements in the future, depending on the political climate and opportunity presented by each new jurisdiction.

ISI was formed in 1998, and has brought together certain strategic investors. Shareholders include one of the country's leading kiosk manufacturers (Kiosk Information Systems), a software systems developer and kiosk manufacturer Netbooth, and a partnership made up of experienced casino developers, operators and owners, in addition to Stearns and Matthews.

"We were able to survive some really shaky economic times in 2001 and 2002, when venture capital dried up completely, through hard work and the contributions of our strategic partners," Stearns says.

American Wagering operates under gaming licenses issued by Nevada's gaming authorities. Other companies owned by American Wagering include Leroy's Horse and Sports Place, operator of the largest number of sports books in the state; Computerized Bookmaking Systems; and Contest Sports Systems Inc.

Posted by staff at 03:06 PM

July 18, 2007

Gaming Technology

Shakeup at Microsoft has Peter Moore resigning. Moore directed Xbox division which has always been in one sense a virtual success, never made money, and recently took $1B hit for warranty issues with defective Xbox consoles. Xbox along with Wii are consoles that draw a lot of pay-for-use attention though licensing Xbox for that purpose is ironically virtually impossible.

And what will Moore now be doing? Headed to SF bay area to take over as president of EA Sports which focuses on competitors like Sony and Nintendo.... Nice little signing bonus too ($1.5M).

Posted by staff at 08:17 AM

July 11, 2007

Movies on Game Consoles

Not sure if the demographics make sense but Microsoft struck a deal for customers with Xbox360 to be able to download/rent movies from Disney (includes Miramax/etc).


Associated Press
July 11, 2007 9:36 a.m.

Microsoft Corp. said it struck a deal to make 35 Walt Disney Co. movies, such as the animated hit "Aladdin" and the action title "Armageddon," available for download on its online videogame service.

The high-definition movies will be available to U.S. subscribers of Microsoft's Xbox Live, said Peter Moore, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, which is responsible for the Xbox business.

The agreement with Disney-ABC Domestic Television will also allow Xbox 360 owners to rent films on demand as they become available from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films and Hollywood Pictures.

Xbox Live already offers movies and television shows from more than two dozen other content providers, the company said. The service has more than seven million members, a figure that will hit 10 million by June, Mr. Moore said a news conference.

He used the event on the eve of the E3 Media & Business Summit to tout the system's lineup of holiday games. One title called "Scene it?" is a movie-trivia board game that Microsoft will sell with four simplified, large-buttoned wireless controllers.

Moore mentioned other games, including the anticipated sci-fi shooter "Halo 3" from Bungie Studios, "Mass Effect" from BioWare Corp. and "Grand Theft Auto IV" from Rockstar Games.

To go along with the Sept. 25 launch of Halo 3, Microsoft will sell a Halo-themed version of its Xbox 360 console.

Last week, Microsoft extended the warranty for Xbox 360 consoles that stop working because of a vague condition the company calls "general hardware failure." The company said it expected to spend more than $1 billion to repair broken machines.

Rest of Story


Posted by staff at 08:38 AM

Gaming -- Spielberg and EA

PQRS block game coming out for Nintendo Wii console (motion sensing). Steven Spielberg teamed up with EA (Electronic Arts) for the game. Next up Indiana Jones?

When Steven Spielberg signed a deal with Electronic Arts Inc. two years ago to make three videogames with the world's biggest publisher, everyone assumed the titles would all ooze the kind of storytelling and characters Mr. Spielberg is known for at the movies. Instead, the first game to come out of the collaboration is all about, well, blocks.

The game, code-named PQRS (a title that samples from the latter half of the alphabet), is part of a wave of new games EA of Redwood City, Calif., is making for Nintendo Co.'s Wii console, with its motion-sensing controller that has proved a big hit with families and other game novices. What PQRS lacks in dinosaurs, extra-terrestrials and other Spielbergean characters, it will attempt to make up for with simpler pleasures.

In PQRS, players will create structures out of virtual blocks that they then slowly destroy using a variety of methods, attempting to keep the structures standing as long as possible. For instance, players will be able to aim a hose at a tower by aiming their Wii controllers, selectively spraying away blocks. People familiar with the matter say the company is hoping to get it out in time for the holiday season, though officially the company will say only that it expects to release it by the end of March.

The second game the director is doing with EA – code-named, naturally, LMNO – is more consistent with the Spielberg film canon. Designed for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, the consoles best able to reproduce movie-like images, EA will say only that the game is set against the backdrop of an "epic story." Players assume the role of a character who follows the action of the game with a female companion in tow.

Rest of Article

Posted by staff at 08:35 AM

May 10, 2007

New Case Studies Released

Five new case studies released including Amtrak, SITA CUSS, ISI Gaming, Army Internet Gaming, and Vanguard Car Rental check-in.

Case studies published by KIOSK in Colorado and links are here:



Posted by staff at 12:41 PM

April 18, 2007

Airport Internet Gaming Station kiosks

Passengers with idle time to kill at Denver International Airport can now play one of roughly 19 computer games at individual stations located throughout the concourses.

Story on Rocky Mountain News

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Traveling video game junkies, rejoice.

Passengers with idle time to kill at Denver International Airport can now play one of roughly 19 computer games at individual stations located throughout the concourses.

Two companies have partnered to replace the "Shibby" Internet kiosks at DIA with new systems featuring 23-inch screens, enhanced graphics cards, sound systems and super-fast online connections, not to mention enclosed booths for privacy.

Users can play the games on their own or against others online, or they can simply access the Internet. The services cost 25 cents per minute.

The booths have been installed on all three concourses and will debut in the main terminal by July.

Zoox Stations and RMES Communications are behind the move.

"The single ingredient needed to make this machine a gamer magnet is idle time," Rick Malone, president of Zoox Stations and its parent, Kiosk Information Systems, said in a release. "Our development team has included the highest caliber gaming technology and a full complement of industry leading title options that appeal to even the most sophisticated gamer."

The new gaming and Internet stations give passengers another entertainment option during long connections or extended delays.

"Anytime you can help people pass the time or provide new services, it's a good thing," said DIA spokesman Chuck Cannon.

Posted by staff at 04:09 PM

April 03, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- WoW and Halo gaming at the Airport

News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.




repeat -- News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.

Posted by staff at 03:32 PM

March 16, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study - sports betting kiosks for casinos

24 Hour sports bets via the casino kiosk announced for Dutch Caribbean (including St. Maarten). This is following the sucessfull launch of 12 units in other casinos on other islands there. Picture of the unit is included.

LAS VEGAS, USA: ISI Maritime/Islands (ISI) officials have announced it will soon introduce its new sports betting kiosks (the iSports Stand) to casinos throughout the Dutch Caribbean, including St. Maarten. The announcement follows the successful launch of 12 of the new iSports Stands on the gaming floors of five casinos in Curacao and Aruba.

iSports Stand
Acting as a stand-alone sports book, the iSports Stand provides the same services as a casino sports book, including placing sports bets, and can be open virtually 24 hours a day. The kiosks offer bettors a faster, more convenient method to place sports bets.

The Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino was one of the first to offer the iSports Stand, which began accepting bets on February 3, just in time for Super Bowl XLI.

“We are pleased to offer our guests a convenient, easy way to place a sports bet,” said Brian Stedeford, general manager of the Stellaris Casino. “The iSports Stands were a huge hit with our customers during Super Bowl weekend. Offering sports betting before and during the game drew people to the Stellaris and kept them here, which enhanced our business in other areas of property like the restaurants, lounges and other casino games.”


ISI-slotmachine.jpg

In Curacao, the Casino Awasa in the Otrobanda Hotel was one of the first to offer the iSports Stand.

“We have already seen a large increase in business as a result of the iSports Stand,” said Martin Eustatia, manager of the Otrobanda Hotel. “I have had a lot of requests for sports betting over the years and have always had to send people somewhere else to make their bets. Now the Otrobanda is able to offer this service, without remodeling or hiring additional employees.”

The iSports Stands are also in operation at the Curacao Casino in the Hilton Curacao and will soon be offered at additional properties on the island. The iSports Stands at the Alhambra Casino and the Casablanca Casino in the Westin Aruba Resort are expected to be fully operational in time for the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. ISI is expected to have 12 iSports Stands operating in the Dutch Caribbean by the second quarter of 2007.

The kiosk is similar to using an ATM at a bank instead of dealing with a teller. In addition, the iSports Stand allows bettors to check weather during events, obtain advice from a professional sports handicapper, book show tickets and make golf reservations. In the near future, horse racing is expected to be offered through the kiosks. ISI co-developed the iSports Stand with AWI Manufacturing. Both corporations are headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev.

“Typically only one or two casino properties on each island have been able to offer sports wagering, leaving the other properties at a severe disadvantage,” said Ernest Matthews, president of ISI Maritime/Islands. “The iSports Stand brings a new opportunity to many of the casino properties in the Caribbean, allowing them to be more competitive, while increasing their profits."

The iSports Stand offers another industry first – advertising on the casino floor for companies and products outside of the casino. Through the iSports Stand, local and national businesses can advertise on the kiosk’s side panels, on the upper video monitor and through banner ads on the kiosk screen. When touched, the screen changes to a Web-based application allowing the bettor to obtain an advertiser-generated coupon for a service such as a limo ride, a free beverage or a free handicapper pick of a football game.

“This is a unique opportunity for advertisers,” said Angie Ek, general manager of ISI Maritime/Islands. “Never before were advertisers allowed to convey their message to the thousands of casino patrons until now. Casino guests are a captured audience who are loyal to casino products and entertainment. Being able to reach them on the casino floor makes the iSports Stand a unique and desirable advertising vehicle to all sorts of businesses.”

“It’s also a win for the casinos since they keep a portion of the advertising revenue from the sale of space on the touch screen as well as a video monitor at the top of the machine,” said Bo Loefstok-Schillemans of Dragonfly Media, the exclusive sales partner to ISI in the Caribbean. “The advertising can pay for the machine in a few months.”

Posted by staff at 07:08 AM

March 08, 2007

KIOSKS & PC GAMING - Investors on the future of the gaming industry

PC Game Station Series -- Stewart Alsop and Gilman Louie on the fundamental changes that the gaming industry needs to undertake. The pair mentioned a number of sectors commonly seen as the "next big thing" in games, including mobile and casual gaming, massively multiplayer titles, immersive worlds, dedicated game devices (like Nokia's N-Gage), and games for girls. The closest thing we can see in the public terminal market would be the gaming solution that Zoox has worked up with Halo and Valve for example. That has ROI for operators and economic viability is critical. This series on pc gaming is sponsored by Zazoox PC Game Stations

The next billion-dollar opportunity in gaming
Keynote address at game investor conference suggests the industry is due for a major overhaul.
By Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot
Posted Jun 22, 2006 11:23 am PT

SAN FRANCISCO--Normally when analysts and investors spout off about the gaming industry, actual gamers are prone to tune them out. But when Stewart Alsop and Gilman Louie, head partners of venture-capital firm Alsop Louie, say the gaming industry is in need of fundamental change, their point of view is a lot harder to ignore.

After all, Louie founded Spectrum Holobyte, designed the hardcore flight simulator Falcon 4.0, and was among the first to bring Tetris to the West. And while Alsop admits he doesn't play games--much less design them--he has a history of notable investment success in the tech sector (riding the success of companies like Tivo, Glu Mobile, and Xfire).

In their keynote address at the Second Annual Game Investors today, Alsop and Louie discussed "The Next Billion Dollar Videogame Opportunity." The pair mentioned a number of sectors commonly seen as the "next big thing" in games, including mobile and casual gaming, massively multiplayer titles, immersive worlds, dedicated game devices (like Nokia's N-Gage), and games for girls.

"We don't think any of these have achieved the status of the next billion-dollar opportunity," Alsop said.

"So what is the real next billion-dollar opportunity?" Louie asked. "I say it's the Internet."

Louie said most publishers think gaming on the Internet boils down to three things in most publisher's minds: casual games, digital distribution, and massively multiplayer games. As far as casual games go, Louie and Alsop said casual games have worked because they've been tailored to the narrowband experience, but they think there's much more potential for Internet gaming with the ever-increasing rate of broadband penetration.

Cable companies have been trying the digital distribution of games for decades, Louie noted, but people haven't wanted to pay just to play 10-year-old games. As for MMOs, "incredibly, there's some traction in that marketplace, but the reality is these are really hardcore gamers who really own their worlds and any newbie that shows up gets killed in 15 seconds," Louie said. "So this has been kind of a bad experience for the general gaming public and the Internet is really not where it should be."

"The Internet is amazing today because of where it's going, not where it's been," Louie said, noting the advancements of voice and video streaming over the Internet, and some further technologies like a Net-based console platform proposed by Sony's Ken Kutaragi, where game processing is handled collectively by a network of consoles instead of exclusively by the player's machine.

"Nobody to this day has leveraged the power of the Net in the context of making the next great video game platform," Louie said.

But Louis and Alsop believe the current model of the game industry isn't ideal for fostering that. Between lengthy development cycles, escalating production costs, huge development teams, closed platforms where distributors control what's available to consumers, the industry's hit-driven nature, and a focus on computer graphics and special effects (the industry's "stars"), they peg the current model as being a lot like the movie industry.

"I contest that the movie model is the absolute worst model you can design your next-generation business on," Louie said. "Television's a very different model."

Creating for television costs less, builds episode by episode, incorporates feedback into future episodes more quickly, doesn't have the same distribution constraints, and features a much broader audience base.

"From the point of view of venture-capital investors, we believe the right way to think about things is in terms of TV, not movies," Alsop said.

"Content really does matter," Louie stressed, "and we have not found a group of developers to date that has said, 'I will start by making the very best Internet-based experience and build this new brand that is much more like a channel.'"

Alsop and Louie then introduced a number of concepts that proved popular in previous pop-culture trends, whether it be games that better incorporate the collection appeal of Pokemon in an online way, or a pen-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons-like experience, where players somehow run their own games, provide their own guidance, and tell their own stories.

"We basically believe the current video game business is sick," Alsop said. "We're definitively saying that we don't think we're in the next transition cycle; we actually are in a much more fundamental shift. What we're saying is there's a different way of thinking about games that shifts the logic of the game from the device to the network, and it includes all the devices… The process we're talking about still has some significant issues in terms of deployment, but from the point of view of venture-capital investors where we have our eye on the future, we believe that the right way to think about things is to start thinking in terms of television: episodes, large audiences, those audiences interacting with each other, and really looking for innovative and different ways of generating revenue."

"It fundamentally revolves around new gameplay," Louie said in closing. "Without new gameplay, shinier and shinier graphics will reduce and evaporate larger and larger amounts of shareholder value."

This series on pc gaming is sponsored by Zazoox PC Game Stations

Posted by staff at 08:17 AM

February 03, 2007

Kiosks Case Study -- Betting Kiosk press release

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leroy’s Race and Sports Book and ISI, Ltd. (ISI) officials announced today their sports gaming kiosks (the iSports Stand) are now on the gaming floor of Hooters Casino Hotel, offering bettors a faster, more convenient method to place sports bets.

The two orange iSports Stands, which display a photo of Michelle Nunes – Miss Hooters International and a blackjack dealer at Hooters Casino Hotel – are the first specially designed kiosks in Las Vegas. The iSports Stands are expected to be fully operational in time for the busiest sports book day of the year – Super Bowl Sunday.

source link

“Hooters is a unique, world-famous brand with a very loyal following,” said Bill Stearns, president of ISI. “We designed the kiosks to attract curious guests to take a look and try this new technology. It’s very simple to place bets, and the kiosk can be open practically 24 hours.”

Stearns compares the machines to using the ATM at a bank instead of dealing with the teller.


Preview
Miss Hooters International, Michelle Nunes, checks out her photo on the first custom-built iSports Stand, a new sports betting kiosk created by ISI, Ltd. and American Wagering, Inc. The iSports Stands were installed this week at Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas where Nunes is a blackjack dealer. Photo credit: George Bekich Courtesy of ISI, Ltd.

“We believe once legal bettors experience the additional features like receiving special offers from our advertisers, checking weather during events, obtaining advice from a professional sports handicapper, booking show tickets or making golf reservations, they will prefer the kiosks,” he said.

ISI co-developed the iSports Stand with AWI Manufacturing, Inc. (AWIM). Acting as a stand-alone sports book, the iSports Stand provides the same services as an in-casino sports book. Also unique is the ability for local and national businesses to advertise on the kiosk’s video screen, side panels and through on-screen banner ads. This is the first time companies and products outside of the casino can reach guests on the gaming floor.

ABOUT HOOTERS CASINO HOTEL

Home base to Miss Hooters International 2006, Michelle Nunes, and recipient of AAA’s 2007 Three Diamond Award, the world’s first Hooters Casino Hotel features 696 Hooterized Florida-casual rooms and suites fully equipped with the latest amenities. The hotel is conveniently located one block from the famous Las Vegas Strip and across from the MGM Grand. While guests can expect to see the more than 200 world-famous Hooters Girls throughout the property, an exciting mix of dining, entertainment and nightlife is also featured, from nine fine-to-funky restaurants and bars, to one of the hottest pool decks in town. The 30,000-square-foot "Hooters"-themed casino floor offers approximately 670 state-of-the-art slot and video poker machines and 33 table games – including the Hooters Girl Party Pit – for 24-hour fun. Hooters Casino Hotel is a collaborative effort between four of the original six founding fathers of the Hooters Restaurant chain, 155 East Tropicana, LLC (the former owner and operator of the Hotel San Remo), and a Hooters franchise group from Florida. For more information call 1.866.LVHOOTS or visit www.hooterscasinohotel.com.

ABOUT ISI, LTD.

ISI, LTD. is a privately owned company, which distributes self-service wagering terminals (the iSports Stand) in association with American Wagering, Inc. In addition to self-service sports wagering, the iSports Stand provides important sporting event information, a variety of self-service concierge services and third-party advertising via ISI, LTD.’s proprietary software (The AdCaster). ISI, LTD. maintains subsidiary companies in the Caribbean Islands (ISI Caribbean & Maritime) as well as the United Kingdom (ISI, UK). For more information, please visit www.isisports.com.

ABOUT AMERICAN WAGERING, INC.

American Wagering, Inc. is a publicly traded company that primarily operates through wholly owned subsidiaries including Leroy’s Horse & Sports Place, Inc. (“Leroy’s”), Computerized Bookmaking Systems, Inc. (“CBS”), AWI Manufacturing, Inc. (“AWIM”), and AWI Gaming, Inc. (“AWIG”). Leroy’s owns and operates more than 60 race/sports book outlets in the state of Nevada, CBS is the dominant supplier of sports wagering hardware/software to the Nevada gaming industry, and AWIM is a Nevada Gaming Commission-licensed manufacturer/distributor and supplier of race/sports self-service wagering kiosks. AWIG is a recently formed subsidiary with the goal of becoming a market leader in operating smaller hotel/casino properties.
Contacts

Brown & Partners
Dawn Christensen, 702-853-7332
dchristensen@brown-partners.com

Posted by staff at 10:04 AM

January 26, 2007

Kiosks Case Study - Sportsbook Betting Kiosk in Vegas

hooters-124.jpgOkay, at first glance this might not strike you as a serious kiosk application but it is. In Vegas it is very transaction oriented, and presentation does count. If you are interested in seeing a better view of the unit then click here (otherwise you can take our word for it...)

Here is better picture of the unit.

View image

Posted by staff at 01:03 PM

January 22, 2007

Kiosks Case Study : Betting Kiosks in Gaming

betting-kiosk.jpgWell if you were betting on New Orleans or the Patriots you probably lost some money. Worth noting is you could've placed those bets on a betting kiosk. The alternative description for these units are ATMs on Steroids. Bill Stearns of ISI is interviewed and talks about them.

american-wagering-gaming-kiosk.jpg

By Liz Benston
Las Vegas Sun

Like a brightly colored alien race descending for the Super Bowl, 8-foot-tall machines will be cropping up in casinos across Nevada, beckoning gamblers to make sports bets as quickly as withdrawing cash at an ATM or placing an order at a fast-food drive-through.

Called "iSports Stand," these sports betting kiosks are like ATMs on steroids. They feature large touch screens and video monitors that flash as many as 50 ads every few hours - pitches that historically haven't been welcome inside casinos.

Want a free beer or sub sandwich? How about a chiropractic exam or 300 bucks off real estate closing costs?

Besides the betting action, gamblers can click on ads that pop up on the screen, printing out 2-for-1 coupons and other offers from local mom-and-pop businesses and national chains.

Like other advancements in casino technology over the years, the kiosks - more than three years in development - will replace some work now done by casino employees and allow gamblers to place their bets faster and more conveniently.

The devices can go anywhere in a casino - near the buffet line or near retail stores . Winners will be given credits, which they can cash out with a cashier or use for more betting.

Like movie ticket terminals that have sprung up outside cine- plexes, the iSports Stand also has other functions for those who aren't wagering-inclined. Slip in some cash and you can buy a show ticket or book a tee time at the casino's golf course.

Bill Stearns, president of kiosk manufacturer ISI Ltd. of Las Vegas, says the machines won't fully replace the sports book experience.

"Similar to banks, bank tellers still exist and have their functions," Stearns said. "We're ATMs for sports books." Stearns said he expects sports wagering to increase overall as betting becomes more convenient.

As a rule, faster-moving games make more money for casinos. But there's a side benefit to 24-hour betting kiosks besides the fact that they don't take vacations or get sick. A 40 percent chunk of the advertising revenue from the sale of space on the touch screen as well as a video monitor at the top of the machine goes to casinos - revenue that can pay for the machine in a few months. Excluding that revenue, casinos pay $900 per month to lease the kiosks.

The company sold ad space on kiosks at the Rampart Casino in Summerlin in about 90 days, raising enough money to defray the rental cost, Stearns said. More than 30 Nevada casinos are renting the kiosks, including the Sahara, Riviera, Tropicana and the Silverton.

The machines were developed in partnership with American Wagering, a public company that owns more than 60 race and sports books in Nevada through its Leroy's subsidiary and supplies most of the hardware and software Nevada casinos use to process sports bets.

The ad money is the reason casinos are willingly giving folks like Findlay Toyota, Jersey Mike's and 24-Hour Fitness precious real estate on their floors. It's unlikely that those ads will compete for attention with ever louder, flashier slot machines, although if you look across the Rampart, you might well be able to spot a Coors Light ad or two playing on the video monitor above the level of most slots. If you happen to be using the machine or standing in front of it, you can't help but watch.

"It's a win-win for casinos and advertisers," Stearns said.

And for gamblers? "People who are technically inclined are using it, people intimidated by sports books are using it and the pros are using it because it's quicker and easier - you hit a few buttons and you're done," he said.

Liz Benston can be reached at 259-4077 or at benston@lasvegassun.com.

Sportstand Caribbean
Sportstand UK

Posted by staff at 03:24 PM

November 21, 2006

Game Terminals - Vegas and IGT go Multiplayer

Slot machine makers, keen to find a new selling point for a traditional game, are trying to increase the social aspect of slots by linking up machines so players can share payouts and the thrill of winning. The pace of U.S. slot machine sales has slowed in the past few years, after a period of strong growth when most casinos switched from older coin-based slots to machines that issue paper tickets. In Nevada alone, slot machines generate about $8 billion in annual revenue for machine makers, according to the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers.

In Nevada alone, slot machines generate about $8 billion in annual revenue for machine makers, according to the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers.

"I think the whole industry has to look at ways of making the industry more interactive. I think there will be much more communal playing—it adds to the overall excitement," Paul Oneile, CEO of Aristocrat Technologies, said at the gambling industry's annual trade show held last week in Las Vegas.

The trend began last year with the latest edition of the popular "Wheel of Fortune" slot game from International Game Technology, which allows up to nine players to sit around a large spinning wheel and share in the winnings.

"The interest was incredible," said Ed Rogich, vice president of marketing at IGT. "The spectator value really makes it a fun draw."

Slot machine manufacturers are moving toward "technology that will allow operators to reward customers more easily and increase the communal nature of slots," Goldman Sachs analyst Steven Kent said in a research note.

IGT now offers an Indiana Jones-themed multiplayer game, Rogich said, while rival WMS Industries Inc. is marketing its Monopoly Big Event communal slot product.

"A powerful and developing trend over the next two years will be the movement toward multi-station, communal play gaming devices," Merrill Lynch analyst David Anders said in a note.

Aristocrat's Oneile said multiplayer slots could eventually integrate into a network environment, known as server-based gaming, which is heralded as the next big advance in gambling technology and would allow casinos to download the latest games from a central server onto individual machines.

"Server-based gaming will expand the potential of these types of games," Rogich said, but the technology is still being tested in casinos and the pace of regulatory approval for it is "difficult to predict."

IGT Chief Executive T.J. Matthews described server-based technology as an "on-going question."

J.P. Morgan analyst Harry Curtis said its adoption was "inevitable" but would not begin in earnest for another three to five years. "Or until operators are more comfortable with the return on investment proposition," he added.

New technology is also changing table-based games, by allowing players to play them electronically, according to Mark Yoseloff, chairman, president and CEO of Shuffle Master Inc. Though not yet popular in the United States, Yoseloff said Australian and Asian casinos have embraced them.

Rogich said new technology being launched in Macau, where gamblers stand two or three deep and bet on those at the table, can allow for an unlimited number of players at tables.

Posted by staff at 07:32 AM

November 10, 2006

Gamesters Shelling out Cash to Play Online Games at Kiosks

Zazoox_Front_View_sm.jpgWest Chester, Pa., November 7, 2006 – Multiple gaming enthusiasts can now compete head to head in public, thanks to the recently launched ZAZOOX Game Café kiosks. Enhanced with MEI bill acceptors, consumers can now easily “pay to play” the most popular PC Game titles from the world’s most prominent and competitive developers.

The ZAZOOX Game Café is a direct response to the explosive market for multi-player online gaming (MPOG). With estimates of the current MPOG market of $500 million to reach $2 billion in 2007, Kiosk Information Systems (KIOSK) formed a new subsidiary, ZOOX Stations, Inc., to focus on this sector.

The ZAZOOX Game Café will be deployed in truck stops, airports, destination hotels, youth hostels, malls, and family entertainment centers across the United States. More than 300 of these MPOG kiosks have already been rolled out to American Army bases throughout the U.S. and Germany.

“Players clearly prefer cash for these gaming kiosks. And as the ZAZOOX Game Café is a premium product, we needed a first-rate payment acceptor,” said Tom Weaver, KIOSK’s sales and marketing vice president. “The MEI unit offers the reliability and ease of operation that our customers expect.”

ZAZOOX maximizes game play revenue with a library of over twenty high-end games that can be played individually, in local competition mode, or online. Internet access with quick links to popular sites like MySpace, Google, and Yahoo, provides an additional tier of solid pay-for-use revenue.

About ZOOX Stations, Inc.
ZOOX Stations manufactures & designs cutting edge entertainment and gaming platforms. The library of games includes titles from Microsoft, EA, Valve, Ubisoft and other leading developers. Products are completely turnkey, but are available in custom branded configurations. Complete installation, service, remote sales reporting, and activity tracking is provided. Call 1-888-661-1697 for more information, or visit www.zooxstations.com.

ZOOX Stations, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of KIOSK Information Systems. KIOSK is the world leader in design, manufacturing, service and support of indoor and outdoor kiosks, public Internet stations and other electronic self-service informational terminals. KIOSK is the OEM manufacturer of self-service terminals for Dell, Hewlett Packard, Sony Photo, US Transportation Security Administration, and many others. For more information, visit www.kiosk.com.

About MEI
MEI solutions are relied upon for more than 1 billion transactions per week in 90 countries. Having been at the forefront of automated cash transaction technology and its development for over 40 years, today MEI has the largest worldwide installed base of unattended payment mechanisms. Recently, MEI reached a milestone of selling more than 3.5 million bill acceptors, 4.5 million coin mechanisms and 1 million control boards worldwide. Its products are in widespread use throughout the Retail world, including bill payment, self checkout, pay at the pump, cash safes and Cash in Transit solutions, as well as in the vending, soft drink, gaming, amusement, transportation and parking markets. For more information on MEI and its products, visit www.meigroup.com/kiosks or call 1-800-345-8215 x 2510.

Editors’ note: A high-resolution photo print is available at www.schubert.com/media/mei .

Contacts: Diane Fraser
PR Consultant for MEI
610-269-2100 x237
dfraser@schubert.com

# # #
MEI
1301 Wilson Drive
West Chester, PA 19380-5963
www.meigroup.com
800-345-8215 x2510

Posted by staff at 11:54 AM

October 13, 2006

MMOG Valve and Activision Join Forces

valve_head3.jpgThe online mmog/mpog gaming channel just took a new turn. Activision signs a deal to now distribute Call of Duty and others online via the Steam/Valve channel. Last year Valve had a deal with EA but that seems to have gone by the wayside with this new agreement with EA's arch competitor. To rub it in a bit, Ubisoft is also now distributing as part of the Valve channel. Significance -- online games are one of the new channels being monetized on pay-for-use self-service terminals such as zazoox.

Activision unscrews Valve
[UPDATE] Publisher to release Gun, Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and Call of Duty: United Offensive on popular download service; all but one will be $20.
By Tor Thorsen, GameSpot
Posted Oct 12, 2006 3:12 pm PT

Last year, Valve struck a deal with Electronic Arts to have the publisher distribute the retail copies of its popular shooter Half-Life 2 and its sequels. Today, the Washington-based developer announced it is doing a deal with EA's archrival, California-based publisher Activision.

The agreement will see five titles from Activision's PC catalog be made available on Steam, Valve's popular download service. "Our agreement with Steam enhances our current online distribution model by allowing us to bring our games to the broadest possible audience," Activision senior director of business development Dave Anderson said in a statement. "As broadband penetration continues to grow worldwide, offering our titles digitally to the millions of gamers connected through Steam makes sense to us."

[UPDATE] Three Activision games offered on steam will be from the wildly popular Call of Duty series, which is developed by the now-internal studio Infinity Ward. Call of Duty 2 ($39.95), Call of Duty ($19.95), and the Call of Duty: United Offensive expansion pack ($19.95) will all be made available, as will the Western shooter Gun ($19.95), which was developed by NeverSoft.

Whenever Valve does open the digital spigot on the four Activision games, they will join an increasing number of third-party titles available on Steam. This week, Majesco's critical hit Psychonauts was made available on the service, and Ubisoft's Dark Messiah of Might & Magic will launch on the service later this month.

Posted by keefner at 07:29 AM

October 03, 2006

Game Events: Bakers Dozen from around the world

Lots of things going on in the world of game.

  • EA finally completes purchase of DICE for $24M. The next game from EA and DICE will be the PC shooter Battlefield 2142, which is set to ship in North America on October 17. No next-gen console plans for the game have been announced.

  • Iranian game designers and Kuma going back and forth. In May it was reported that an Iranian student-made game under development had players rescuing an Iranian nuclear scientist from US forces. The next month, US-based Kuma Reality Games announced Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq, a follow-up of sorts in which it was stated that the fictional scientist had defected.

    Now the Iranian development community appears to be firing back with another game. A Reuters article citing the daily paper Jomhouri-ye Eslami is reporting that a new Iranian PC game requires players to blow up a US tanker in the Persian Gulf, blocking the sea route for a substantial portion of the world's oil supplies.

  • London Games Festival -- The week-long London Games Festival began today and will be the home until Sunday to events such as the Game Developers Conference London, the HMV Games Showcases, Game/Play, and the Artful Gaming Exhibition.

  • Steam-based games and WOW on Linux -- on Saturday was the release by CodeWeavers of the first public beta of CrossOver 6.0, with support for World of Warcraft and other "steam-based" games such as Half Life 2 and Counterstrike.

  • Burger King goes embedded -- Today, McDonald's rival Burger King officially announced a campaign that takes a different tack to a gaming tie-in. Instead of offering toys that evoke games and promote activity, the fast-food chain is going to offer three Xbox and Xbox 360 games of its own this holiday season, each of them slathered with Burger King branding like so much mayonnaise on a Double Whopper with cheese.

    Posted by keefner at 07:39 AM
  • December 04, 2005

    The yahoo of games is on its way?

    Nice article on Forbes on Valve founder Gabe Newell and his growing online games venture.

    It's A Mod, Mod Underworld
    Victoria Barret, 12.12.05

    Gabe Newell is the envy of giants in the videogame industry. He designs games--then lets fans make them even better.
    A 60-inch plasma screen at the offices of Valve Corp. roars to life with a heavy-metal soundtrack as a new videogame begins, and giant, gnarly aliens creep from the shadows of an ominous alleyway. The game, Alien Swarm, is the work of three creators who have piggybacked off of Valve's big hit, Half-Life 2, replacing the original game's main characters with a cast of their own creation.

    Alien Swarm is a "mod," a modified add-on to the Valve title, and the rise of mods--letting your fans and even rivals freely tap into your game to redesign it--is a key reason behind the success of the privately held company. The Half-Life series has sold 15 million copies, and its first hot mod--Counter-Strike, a rapid-fire shoot-'em-up pitting online teams against each other--has racked up 4.8 million units. Never mind that Counter-Strike was designed not by Valve's 50 programmers but by two rookies who had never even met--a high school senior in New Jersey and a college student in Vancouver, B.C. Valve bought the game and hired its two kid creators.

    Now comes Alien Swarm, an unfinished mod being shown to Valve Chief Executive Gabe L. Newell by three programmers who make up the entirety of Black Cat Software. They nervously watch for his reaction, and Newell thrills them by leaning his ample 6-foot-4 frame toward them and asking, "So when are you guys going pro?"

    They decide that once Alien Swarm is finished, Valve may sell it for downloading on its Web site, steampowered.com, splitting the sales 50-50 with the three game designers. The Steam site has already begun promoting it.

    "No one has created the Yahoo for games. That's our opportunity," says Newell, who plans to start selling music and minimovies on Steam next year. He is one of the most sought-after hitmakers in the $8.4 billion U.S. videogame industry. Valve, a nine-year-old Seattle company owned by Newell and a few employees, will do at least $70 million in revenue this year, double last year's sales, with operating profit of $55 million.

    Newell's Web storefront, Steam, has 3 million members logging in every week to play games and get automatic upgrades. And while he started out selling in retail stores, in 2004 he became one of the first game developers to successfully sell direct to consumers online--a move retailers typically despise. Newell makes an operating margin of more than 80% on downloaded games; titles sold at retail get a 36% margin.

    Users who visit the Steam site get weekly marketing missives and can choose to let Valve scan their computers online to learn new insights. In the spring Valve discovered that its users with the most advanced graphics had tripled to 10% of all players. So it released a new, snazzier level of Half-Life aimed just at them. "Valve has a much better feel for who their customer is than the rest of the industry. It's admirable," says Sega of America President Simon Jeffery.

    Says Microsoft Xbox executive Gregory Canessa: "Valve is closest to figuring out how to make online sales work."

    Valve has done so by relying on the kindness of strangers: its own customers who are "modders." Valve gives away the software tools that let even amateur programmers make mods, because you must buy a copy of Half-Life to be able to create your own mod or play someone else's.

    Newell sells 15 mod versions and knows of 500 mods floating around in cyberspace, but there could be thousands. Half-Life pits a geeky scientist (you) against corrupt government agents and lethal aliens at a top-secret government site. The Counter-Strike mod transforms this into a multiplayer game of terrorists versus counterterrorists. Day of Defeat applies the premise to World War II. Half-Life Rally has cars racing through the original site (and no killing). Vampire Slayer is self-explanatory.

    "We let our community of players make up the rules," Newell says. If he likes a mod, he sells it online himself and shares half the sales with the modders. If a modder wants to sell it on his own, he must pay Valve a $200,000 licensing fee, plus royalties, in exchange for using Half-Life's development engine.

    Newell, 43, learned from his first employer, Bill Gates, that success in software comes from getting outside developers to write programs that sell more copies of your own. Newell was the 271st employee at Microsoft and, like Gates, is a Harvard dropout. (Steve Ballmer, then Microsoft's head of sales, talked him into leaving college.) Newell spent 13 years in Redmond as the lead developer of the first three versions of Windows.

    He was brilliant and wildly productive. "He was doing 30 products a year," says former colleague Alex St. John, now chief executive of WildTangent, a Web shop selling smaller games.

    Newell quit Microsoft in 1996 and cashed in his stock options to launch Valve that year. He has put a daunting $15 million-plus of his own money into the company, buying out a cofounder and eschewing venture capital backing. He was inspired by the story of Id Software, producers of Doom and Quake, two massive PC hits that let amateur designers modify the games' code to change details and scenery. One popular mod inserted Homer Simpson as the main shooter.

    So Newell licensed some Quake code from Id to create Half-Life, which debuted in 1998 and sold 2.5 million copies at retail in its first year. And there sales would have stalled, but modding extends a game's life and sparks further sales. Newell hired the two young Australian programmers who had created the most popular Quake mod, Team Fortress, and bought the rights to their game. They added more powerful graphics tools for Half-Life modders.

    A year later the community produced its first hit: Counter-Strike. Newell bought it for a pittance in 2000 and hired its two creators (the high school kid in New Jersey and the college kid in Vancouver). Half-Life itself didn't reach its sales peak until its third year; most games peak after a few months.

    Flush with success, Newell embarked on a five-year, $40 million effort to make Half-Life 2 (similar setting, better tools). Introduced in 2004, it has sold 4 million copies and inspired 100 new mods. Alien Swarm may be the first mod Valve itself will sell for Half-Life 2. Mods now provide 20% of Valve's total revenue and someday could account for up to 50% of sales.

    It is the upside, Newell says, of letting customers take total control, and the practice shouldn't be limited to videogames: "George Lucas should have distributed the 'source code' to Star Wars. Millions of fans would create their own movies and stories. Most of them would be terrible, but a few would be genius."

    Posted by keefner at 08:51 PM

    September 02, 2005

    Xbox 360 First Look

    First look inside/outside of Xbox 360 (what will be selling this Christmas). Much much more than gaming at this point with all types of media supported (including Tivo-like video recorder). Plug in your iPod for that matter and play it.
    Read More

    Posted by keefner at 02:37 PM

    August 22, 2005

    Games on Demand Move By Microsoft

    Microsoft finally decides it's time to jump onboard the net online playing of games. Why they couldn't respond/engage this market sooner is a good question since they are now playing catchup game ironically.

    Renting entertainment could be the wave of the future, and Microsoft isn't about to miss it.

    The company that brought us "Janus," the digital rights management (DRM) scheme that allows subscription music services like Napster On The Go to exist, has announced a deal with Exent, of Bethesda, Md., a provider of "games on demand" technology.

    Under the agreement, Microsoft will allow six of its most popular personal computer games to be delivered to online gamers through Exent's on-demand technology, which is used by broadband providers such as Comcast, Yahoo, Bell Canada, Turner Broadcasting and RCN.

    Licensed to the on-demand service -- which costs from US$4.95 to $14.95 a month for access to anywhere from 50 to 300 titles -- are Microsoft's "Age of Empire," "Age of Mythology," "Dungeon Siege," "Mechwarrior," "Rise of Nations" and "Zoo Tycoon" product lines.

    Committed to Expansion:

    "We are definitely committed to helping expand the PC games market and the PC games industry so we've licensed some of our IP [intellectual property] on the games for Windows platform to Exent to put on their service," Microsoft Game Studios Global Group PR Manager Genevieve Waldman told the E-Commerce Times.

    Jarad Carleton, an IT Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan in Palo Alto, Calif., praised the Microsoft move.

    "The concept is a good one because one of the well-known aspects of computer gaming in general is that the majority of the revenues from a game title will come within the first quarter it is released," he told the E-Commerce Times via e-mail. "It appears that Microsoft is making a well thought-out business decision that should open the door to increased computer gaming revenues for the company."

    Posted by keefner at 02:28 PM

    June 30, 2005

    Vending Self-Service Kiosk Machine for Gameboy Pokemon

    In Japan you can now take your re-writable GBA movie card to a vending machine kiosk to get new episodes of Pokemon.

    A Japanese company, AM3, has developed a new vending machine kiosk that lets users download movies to their Game Boy Advance. Using their technology, which seems similar to Nintendo's Play-Yan device, consumers have been able to buy anime episodes on SmartMedia cards and play them on their GBAs via a special adaptor.

    The company now offers a download kiosk. Users can take their GBA Movie SmartMedia card, insert it (along with a nominal fee) into a vending machine, and download an episode of Pokemon to the card. The card can be re-written, and each kiosk contains eight different episodes.

    You

    1. pay with coin
    2. insert memory stick
    3. press selection buttons (hard vending machine buttons) and it
    4. system writes file to your stick
    5. pull out stick and be on your way

    pretty simple really.

    pictures and more

    Posted by keefner at 04:38 PM

    May 11, 2005

    Xbox Live Gaming Kiosk

    EB Games customers looking for the latest Xbox Live games can now sample the online service. Microsoft and EB Games have partnered to deliver new Xbox Live kiosks to 25 EB Games locations. The new program, called "EB Games goes Xbox Live" is the first to demonstrate the online video game service.

    The Xbox Live kiosks will be hooked up to to a broadband connection where customers can pick up the controller and instantly compete against subscribers around the world.

    Story on Punchjump

    Posted by keefner at 03:58 PM

    September 15, 2004

    Casino Kiosks

    Las Vegas Moving to Ban Payday Loan Kiosks?

    Ban of payday loan companies in casinos considered

    By Richard N. Velotta

    LAS VEGAS SUN

    Looking to head off technological advancements in the short-term consumer lending industry, the state Gaming Control Board plans to draft regulations that would prohibit so-called "payday loans" inside casinos.

    With technology moving toward making short-term, high-interest loans available through kiosks, one regulator said the state's gaming industry needs to stay one step ahead of "electronic loan sharks" and keep them out of the state's casinos.

    Board member Bobby Siller said such loans are not based on a preapproved line of credit and keeping them out of casinos would be a positive step toward curtailing problem gambling.

    "Once again, technology is presenting us with new challenges," Siller said in a recent meeting at which board members recommended establishing workshop meetings to review draft regulations.

    In recent months, the board has considered a number of technological issues and how advancements would change the way the gaming industry is regulated. Kiosk systems in the lending industry would enable a customer to receive a loan faster and easier, a fact that spurred the board to consider new regulations.

    Board member Scott Scherer is expected to consult with members of the Nevada Gaming Commission before setting dates for meetings in Northern and Southern Nevada. The regulations would define payday loans and prohibit the granting of payday loans from gaming establishments.

    Payday loans have short terms -- usually 14 to 21 days -- and are for relatively small amounts -- usually between $250 and $500. They are so named because they are marketed as a financial bridge between paychecks, and loan recipients often pledge their paychecks as a guarantee of repayment.

    Deputy Attorney General Michael Wilson, who made a presentation to the board on payday loans, said the interest rates often are exorbitant, with recipients paying between 350 percent and 1,000 percent interest on those loans.

    Wilson said about 300,000 payday loans are made in Clark County each year.

    Dennis Bassford, president of Seattle-based Moneytree, one of the largest short-term loan companies in Las Vegas, said Siller's electronic loan shark remark was "way out of line." He said payday loans generally are misunderstood by the public and companies such as his have no desire to locate inside casinos.

    " 'Loan shark' connotes heavy-handed, violent collection practices," Bassford said. "It connotes illegal activity. Not only are we legal, but we're regulated by the state of Nevada. We don't even take people to court on collections most of the time. I don't know how anyone can draw the conclusion that we are loan sharks."

    He said the high "interest rates" usually aren't annual percentage rate-based sums, but fees that are fully disclosed at the time the loan is written.

    "We make truth-in-lending disclosures and have fees for short-term loans" that aren't calculated with an annual percentage rate, he said.

    "A fee is more clearly understood than an APR and it exists in the same form as overdraft protection in a checking account," he said.

    Bassford said Moneytree, which has 20 stores in Nevada, has no desire to locate an operation in a casino, although the company once considered it.

    "Personally, I don't want to put my business in a casino," he said. "Casinos are full of tourists and we really do most of our business in neighborhoods within the community."

    He said three or four years ago, a "major Strip casino" asked him if he was interested in setting up a lending business inside the casino.

    "We looked at it and said no," he said. "It's not the best place for us to conduct business."

    Bassford declined to name the casino that approached him.

    He said he plans to participate in the workshop meetings on the proposed regulation.

    Payday loan companies have been watched carefully by other local government entities. Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas have restrictions on the growth of payday loan companies, limiting the distance between two stores and regulating the type of signs and colors of displays operations can have.

    Las Vegas SUN: Ban of payday loan companies in casinos considered

    Posted by Craig at 10:21 PM

    December 11, 2003

    Ticket In Ticket Out in Gaming

    Now, casinos are returning to low-denomination slots as ticket-in, ticket-out technology makes the machines more efficient and players tell operators they like the added entertainment time they offer for the same volume of play.

    December 11, 2003 15:53

    Slot-Machine Payout Technology Makes Small-Coin Play More Feasible for Casinos
    By Rod Smith, Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Dec. 11--One of the hot trends on casino floors is the return the thrilling days of yesteryear when it seemed penny slots were king.

    Now, casinos are returning to low-denomination slots as ticket-in, ticket-out technology makes the machines more efficient and players tell operators they like the added entertainment time they offer for the same volume of play.

    Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Falcone said in a recent report to investors that low-denomination games are helping drive revenue growth by increasing coin-in play, building value for players and shifting play to higher hold games.

    "We believe lower-denominated games will continue to account for a larger share of slot revenues and gaming space in future years," he said.

    On Wednesday, Aristocrat Technologies, the U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Aristocrat Leisure Ltd., won approval from Nevada regulators for its newest progressive penny slot machines.

    It also reached an exclusive agreement to initially place them in Coast Casino properties with a 45-day exclusive arrangement for off-Strip properties.

    Kent Young, Aristocrat's director of marketing, said Coast Casinos is an ideal partner for Aristocrat because of the compatibility of the more mature customer bases of frequent players.

    Aristocrat's Millioni$er offers a $1 million payout on penny play, which operators are convinced will prove popular with players.

    Young said half of the slots Aristocrat is shipping are 2-cent denomination machines or smaller and 80 percent of the company's portfolio is available in smaller denomination machines.

    He said 90 percent of the installed machines in some Australian markets are small-denomination slots, and he expects to see the trend accelerate in the United States.

    Young said the advent of ticket-in, ticket-out machines makes penny slots technologically feasible and economically efficient for operators.

    Connie Fox, spokeswoman for Reno-based International Game Technology, the world's largest manufacturer of slot machines, said, "We know that penny progressives is where the market is going which is why we put out the 'Beverly Hillbillies' a year ago and 'M*A*S*H' is a 2-cent game we recently launched."

    Marcus Suan, vice president of slot marketing for Coast Casinos, said the return to penny slots would be impossible without ticket-in, ticket-out technology because of the challenges to customers and costs casinos would bear managing heavy coin volume.

    Rob Stillwell, spokesman for Boyd Gaming Corp., said his company is seeing increased demand for small-denomination slots in all jurisdictions in which it operates casinos.

    "As customers get used to (ticket-in ticket-out technology and low-denomination progressive slots), they discover they like the technology a lot, just as they liked ATMs and self-service at gas stations," he said.

    Despite the name, players typically bet $1 to $1.50 per spin when they play on the multicoin, multiline video slots, up from the historical average of 50 cents to 75 cents per spin, Falcone said.

    Only a few years ago, nickel slot players were shunned. Now, casino operators are actively marketing to these customers and devoting large sections of their casinos as "havens" for nickel and penny slot players, Falcone said.

    Posted by Craig at 09:46 PM

    December 08, 2003

    High Tech in Vegas Casinos

    Las Vegas Hotel-Casino's Bar-Coded System Helps Valets Cut Patrons' Wait Times

    By Rod Smith, Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Dec. 8--High tech is giving the New York-New York resort an edge on at least one traffic problem its namesake city hasn't solved yet: valet parking.

    The new high-tech system is allowing the Strip megaresort to move traffic and patrons through -- especially customers imported from other resorts for the entertainment and other amenities -- faster and in greater numbers.

    New York-New York President Felix Rappaport said a major challenge for New York-New York is getting guests in and out of the property more efficiently, especially with the added dining and nightly entertainment options such as "Zumanity" and Rita Rudner's show.

    With the new system, it takes an average five to six minutes to retrieve any automobile, Rappaport said.

    "Our main concern is guest service, especially with all the attractions we just added," he said.

    Rappaport said New York-New York has eight primary attractions, each of which he described as world class: the roller coaster, the Rita Rudner show, "Zumanity," the ESPN Zone, Coyote Ugly, Nine Fine Irishmen, the Big Apple Bar and the bar at Times Square.

    "Our biggest fear was that services would slow down, and this system is one way we've been able to maintain the service with much greater volumes," he said.

    With the new system, valets are handling between 1,200 and 1,800 automobiles a day, New York-New York Vice President of Hotel Operations Micah Richins said.

    Second, the automated valet parking system protects the hotel-casino against fraud from anyone who tries to win a settlement for automobile damages actually done elsewhere.

    At the same time, the system protects patrons whose vehicles are dinged at New York-New York, by providing records about who parked it and how and where an accident happened.

    "A couple of years ago, we found we had an incredible amount of liability claims," Rappaport said. "For every legitimate claim, and they were few and far between, we had a lot of bogus claims. Any of the (resort) properties are a target for people who just want a settlement."

    Wanting to address that problem and improve service as it redefined itself with added entertainment and dining opportunities, the hotel-casino two years ago installed its computerized valet parking system, Richins said.

    Now, when guests check their cars at New York-New York's parking valet, they get a receipt with a computerized bar code, he said.

    When they claim their car at one of the automated kiosks, the receipt will indicate who parked it, when it was parked and where, Richins said.

    "In addition, as your car goes down the ramp with the valet, the car is photographed from a number of angles," Rappaport said. Similarly, it is shot on the way out so both the hotel-casino and patrons can see if it was damaged while under the control of valet parking or not.

    Guests can also claim their cars by going to attendants at the valet parking desk, but the same information and photographic records are available.

    The system has an added benefit, therefore, of protecting attendants who are now in a position to show they did not damage any particular automobile.

    The system resolves disputes almost instantaneously, Rapport said, and once employees got a feel for it, they realized it helped them, too.

    "It's a win-win," he said.

    The automated system was installed two years ago, but it took over a year to work out "the bugs," Rappaport said.

    Now, it gives the hotel-casino very accurate feedback on the volume of parking handled, lets management track retrieval time, and speeds finding vehicles if (and when) guests lose receipts, he said.

    -----

    To see more of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.lvrj.com.

    Posted by Craig at 06:06 PM

    December 02, 2003

    Casinos Going Cashless

    Ticket-in, ticket-out - or TITO - machines accept and pay out with cash-redeemable paper tickets instead of coins.

    story link

    Casinos shifting to coin-less slot machines

    By Andy Vuong
    Denver Post Business Writer

    Post / Jerry Cleveland
    Mike Hirsch, general manager of the Isle of Capri Casino in Black Hawk, sits in a row of slots that use tickets instead of coins. The casino currently has about 250 "ticket-in, ticket-out" or TITO machines.

    Colorado casinos didn't want the state's racetracks to have video lottery terminals, but they are ready to take advantage of technology traditionally associated with the machines.

    The casinos are preparing to roll out new coin-less slots that have "ticket-in, ticket-out" technology, which will make it faster and easier for customers to cash out.

    Ticket-in, ticket-out - or TITO - machines accept and pay out with cash-redeemable paper tickets instead of coins. Ticket-based payouts are a staple of VLTs, so the only difference between the new slots and VLTs will be the way winners are determined. Slots have a random number generator that determines a winner, while most VLTs are connected to a central computer system that decides the outcome of each bet.

    The Isle of Capri Casino already has about 250 TITO machines but plans to double that number by the end of next year.

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    The Lodge Casino plans to install about 200 TITO machines in the first quarter of 2004. Harvey's Wagon Wheel Hotel and Casino plans to have 350 of 1,000 machines accepting tickets by the end of 2004. Fitzgerald's Casino hopes to convert 100 of its 594 machines to ticket-in, ticket-out by spring.

    Many casinos have been waiting for regulatory approval of a more advanced form of TITO that allows gamblers to put coupons they receive in the mail in the machine. They expect approval to come by early next year.

    This fall, Colorado casinos fought fiercely against an initiative by Front Range racetracks to install VLTs, with a large chunk of the proceeds going to support tourism. The measure was soundly defeated by voters in November.

    But the new technology could help boost stagnant revenue for existing casinos, because downtime on the machines and the number of workers needed to maintain them will be cut drastically.

    Some critics say the "cashless" technology may have a negative impact on problem gamblers.

    The casinos, however, say they are implementing the new machines because of consumer demand.

    "There is guest demand for the convenience associated with ticket-in, ticket-out technology," said John East, general manager for Harvey's.

    The new machines allow people to gamble without having to handle coins, which often dirty their hands. It will make it easier for gamblers to change machines because they won't have gather their coins in a bucket that sometimes doesn't fit in a slot hopper. They can simply cash out and insert the paper ticket into a different machine. And gamblers will no longer have to wait for their money when they hit a jackpot.

    For the casinos, the technology allows them to get more play out of a machine because the downtime would be minimized. It also reduces overhead.

    "The games are in play a lot longer," said Ara Telian, director of slots for Jacobs Entertainment, which owns the Lodge and Gilpin casinos in Black Hawk. "There's no downtime for hopper fills, and there's less maintenance on the games."

    Casinos can cut costs by up to 50 percent if they switch to TITO, said David Durst director of sales for gaming systems at International Game Technology, the country's leading slot machine manufacturer.

    "This kind of technology allows a property to operate more efficiently," Durst said.

    But the technology isn't cheap.

    It costs anywhere from $300 to $2,000 to upgrade a traditional slot machine to a ticket-in, ticket-out, or TITO, machine, Telian said.

    The technology has been around since 2000, but the first widespread rollout in Colorado will come next year.

    "There's been a pretty steady expansion nationwide ever since" the first machines were installed in Las Vegas, said Marcus Prater, senior vice president of marketing for Bally Gaming & Systems, the nation's second-leading slot-machine manufacturer. "All of the Colorado casinos are exploring some form of ticketing or cashless" technology.

    Meanwhile, the Mountain High Casino plans to test a machine in January that allows gamblers to access a line of credit with the casino using a player's card.

    "You'll be able to draw from your account directly to the machine," said Sean Sullivan, general manager for Mountain High.

    The new technologies take gamblers further away from their money and will make it more difficult for people to take a break or leave while they're ahead, said Rachel Volberg, president of North Hampton, Mass.-based Gemini Research, which conducts studies on gambling.

    "By playing with credits ... it keeps a person more distant in terms of understanding that this is really money going out of their pocket, rather than just a number on a slot machine," Volberg said.

    Just more than 34 percent of Colorado's 21-and-over population gambled at least once in 2002, according to a study by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., a casino operator based in Las Vegas.

    About 3 percent of the adult population has a gambling problem, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling in Washington, D.C.

    "We would urge that if the state is going to allow these technologies, their obligation is to determine if there is any impact on the most vulnerable Colorado residents," Whyte said.

    Mark Wilson, director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, said regulators will work to "make sure that gambling and the integrity of gambling is kept at its highest point so it's not problematic for anybody in Colorado."

    And while the casinos are moving to the new wave of slots, they don't plan to abandon traditional coin machines completely.

    "If somebody doesn't want to move forward to this technology, they can play like they always have played," Sullivan said.

    Many gamblers are ready for the change.

    Sitting at the Wild Thing slot at the Isle of Capri, Linda Croy moves her right hand away from a hopper filled with $1 coins to reveal her blackened fingertips.

    "That's why I like the new machines more," said Croy, a Parker resident.

    Other gamblers preferred the ticket slots because of the quick payout.

    "I like them because you don't have to wait on people to get your money," said Lakewood resident Bruce Bagnell.

    Posted by Craig at 07:11 PM

    November 28, 2003

    Redemption Kiosks in Casinos Growing

    Nice interview with casino owner in Detroit.

    Friday, November 28, 2003

    Greektown Casino sizzles

    Gaming house hosts 12,000 people daily, operating exec says

    By Becky Yerak / The Detroit News
    Brandy Baker / The Detroit News

    Greektown's Chief Operating Officer Sal Semola says business is hottest during the first part of the month.

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    DETROIT -- The din inside Detroit's casinos has been known to grate on the nerves of gamblers with delicate eardrums, but Sal Semola has a simple explanation for the racket: the sheer volume of traffic.

    "We're as busy on a weeknight as a lot of Las Vegas properties wish they were on Saturday night," said the chief operating officer of Greektown Casino, one of only four players in an oligopolistic market.

    Looking at it another way, Greektown turned 3-years-old last month and already it has replaced its carpet. In Las Vegas, "we could have gotten five years out of it, easily" the Philadelphia native said.

    Semola runs Greektown's day-to-day operations, and as such concerns himself with everything from new technology to flooring trudged over by 12,000 people daily. The Grosse Pointe Park resident, named "Gaming Professional of the Year for the Eastern United States" by the Casino Management Association, sat down with The Detroit News recently.

    Q: Can you talk yet about any of the shops and other tenants that will be in the permanent casino, which you can start building soon now that an Indian tribe has agreed to settle a lawsuit that had been holding up construction?

    A: What I can tell you is we've talked to locally, regionally and nationally recognized brands in addition to plans to have our own facilities in there. In fact, we know we're not going to be able to have everybody in there we'd like to because we've had so much interest in it.

    Q: What percentage of your floor is cashless?

    A: About 20 percent.

    Q: What's the outlook?

    A: At some point, you'll see most of the floor coinless. Look at the recent opening of Boyd Gaming's $1 billion Borgata in Atlantic City. They opened totally coinless.

    Q: How many jobs have been lost as a result of your being 20 percent coinless?

    A: You have less need for hard count (coins) and requisite personnel, but you need more soft count (cash) folks. We've had attrition. But we've not laid off one team member due to technology.

    Q: Any operational changes under way?

    A: We try to stay on top of what's happening with product, whether table games, slots or customer service enhancements, such as self-redemption kiosks (in which gamblers dump in tokens themselves and get money back.) We have a few. We're looking for more. You may see the ability of folks to get their own complimentaries.

    Q: How would that work?

    A: You'd insert your players card. If they had $100 in comps and wanted a comp coupon, they could get it themselves. There are more important priorities, but it's something I see us having at some juncture.

    Q: What's a more pressing priority?

    A: A jackpot kiosk for team members to speed up jackpot payouts. It's an issue on a Saturday night. There's more traffic on the floor, more time and motion issues.

    Q: Do you foresee stable employment in the temporary casino?

    A: Yes, absolutely.

    Q: What's the long-term outlook for table games?

    A: Table games contribute less and less. But I don't think in my lifetime you'll see a full-blown casino with no tables.

    Q: Why did you close your gambling-free bar?

    A: It got no traffic. We were surprised. It was a great looking outlet. But there's no gaming around it. There's no question the primary attraction is to game. Second, maybe get something to eat.

    Q: How long do you plan to work for Greektown?

    A: I came to open the permanent (casino). That's still my goal.

    Q: You're the only casino not to disclose profits. How do your margins compare to MGM or MotorCity's?

    A: I wish I was an investor here.

    Q: Do you get much cashing of welfare, Social Security, payroll checks?

    A: I wouldn't say a lot. We probably get more personal checks than all other checks combined. We also don't cash just any payroll check.

    Q: Are you busier at the beginning of the month when people get Social Security checks?

    A: No question we see a spike in the first of the month. Whether that's due to those checks or pension checks or what have you, it's no different from other markets.

    Q: Why can't you bring a plastic soda bottle into the casino?

    A: Liquor control regulations. It may look like Coke but could be Crown Royal. The only alcohol that can be in here is alcohol we provide.

    Q: Have you taken business from Indian casinos?

    A: From what I understand at Soaring Eagle -- that's the only native property directly affected by Detroit -- their business is not off. When you draw a concentric circle around Detroit and Soaring Eagle, there's still a great population on the side of their circle. But certain elements of the circle are finite. Poker's an example. When we opened a poker room, Soaring Eagle shut theirs down. I assume our room had an impact. Baccarat is another example of a finite market.

    Q: Do people visit Las Vegas less because of Detroit casinos?

    A: Someone said there are playhouses throughout the country but only one Broadway. If anything, gaming's proliferation has contributed to increased visits to Las Vegas.

    Q: Have Detroit casinos cut into illegal betting?

    A: I'm not a sociologist, but when you make something legal it takes out some demand for the illegal. When prohibition was repealed, organized crime had to find another avenue to support itself.

    Q: But it sounds like most of the business is new gambling.

    A: There's no question that having gaming more readily available exposed people to it, and they found it was an entertainment choice.

    Posted by Craig at 04:32 PM

    October 10, 2003

    Casinos of Future

    Casinos, gaming and kiosks in future.

    Story Link

    Casinos Of The Future
    September 22,2003

    Casinos 2020 A.D: Debit cards, Smart cards, interactive kiosks are common thing in all Casinos in the future. Nearly 8 out of 10 senior casino executives surveyed for the American Gaming Association's first Future Watch survey believe technology will totally or significantly change the casino floor in the next 15 years. All the survey respondents said slot machines would become 100 percent cashless.

    Casino operators are also yielding the benefits of technology and Internet. They can scrap an under performing game and download a new casino game from the vendor into the hundreds of physical slots through a wireless intranet link all in minutes - eliminating the need to replace the physical unit.

    Gamblers will play through a bank card, in which wins and losses will be tallied through a checking or savings account, or a smart card, in which gamblers deposit funds that are downloaded onto a magnetic-stripe card.

    Slot machines soon could function like videogame devices that remember where a player last left off in his quest to attain a certain point or reward level. Bonuses, or extra games within the slot machines, will become more personalized and integrated into the primary slot game.

    Slot machines will become more flexible, with one unit offering gamblers a variety of denominations and games at the touch of a button.

    The Casinos will follow the market technology trends and not vice versa say the experts.

    (story spotted on www.kiosk.com)

    Posted by Craig at 07:08 PM