CI: Why move into hardware? You even had a chipper for a while, you have a digital blackjack offering, Multi-Win Roulette… It’s a diversion from what one might say Inspired is all about.
LG: Inspired is all about innovation and bringing together different components – hardware, software, reporting systems - to create the best possible gaming experience for the player and the highest possible level of control for the operator.
Inspired believes quite emphatically that we
have the world’s best server-based gaming platform and this is our key focus. Our Open platform supports all of our products. What this means is that we have a core software platform that facilitates the open delivery of content from a data centre to an end point anywhere in the world; the management of the presentation of content to the consumer on each terminal, which we do through sophisticated game schedules; the pulling back of all the financial data as previously described; and closing the gaps in the knowledge chain and adjusting the package to the consumer. We have a fantastic open SBG platform, which has evolved specifically to meet the needs of the gaming sector.
Our core business is about the provision of open server-based gaming.
The company and our technology has come a
long way in the last decade or so and we’ve developed many exciting opportunities. We’re the leading player in UK slots market, we’ve got a large installation of electronic roulette with leading casino operators, we’ve got a significant server-based digital bingo business with around 7,000 bingo end points in the UK, our Virtual Gaming products are the most graphically advanced and widely deployed in the world and our VLT terminals are being rolled out in their thousands in Italy as we speak, where we are one of only three approved suppliers for the new comma 6B market.
Our core business is about the provision of open server-based gaming. That core strength and setup of technologies and skills can be applied to any of those territories and product types.
CI: Asian customers are generally quite different from their Western counterparts.
What do you do for this unique market?
LG: We have a couple of interesting initiatives on the go in Asia. We’re working on an Asian Baccarat game, which was deployed earlier this year; it’s similar in the gaming mechanics to Baccarat in the rest of the world, but with Chinese players there are a number of methodologies for recording and presenting to the player the previous card. We’ve worked on a custom version of the game which delivers all of the familiar methodologies of presenting previous games, to make it perfectly relevant and recognisable for Asian customers.
CI: There’s presumably still plenty of Europe for Inspired to expand into though?
LG: We certainly have not capitalised on all the opportunities available to us in Europe and we’ve spent some considerable time trying to understand the best way to do that; we’re now moving on an initiative to secure distribution channels for European territories. We’re looking for distributors for our Multi-Win Roulette product, and open server-based gaming platform, in European territories.
But what we’re really excited about as a company at the moment is the massive opportunity in Italy. We have c.5000 VLT slots under contract with Italian lottery and casino operators and this is hopefully only the beginning of Inspired’s success in country. It’s a great market, with a real appetite for innovative gaming products and the new VLT legislation has certainly shaken things up for the better. Our VLT product is extremely popular with operators because the platform has been proven in the UK slots market, but has been flexible enough to be swiftly adapted to the new Italian market. Inspired’s Open VLT platform also works with both Inspired and third-party cabinets and content, allowing more flexibility and choice, which is such a luxury in a new market where inflexible suppliers often take a ‘one solution fits all approach’.
In the UK regarding growth, we had a single
site with Genting, in Luton, with our electronic blackjack product, which constituted our technical trial. They gave the product a healthy ‘pass’, and we’ve been moving that product out into more locations in 2010. Our Blackjack product uses camera recognition because it’s a game where you potentially have to know the locations of the cards as they’re dealt. Our camera technology looks at the cards, scans the play area, then intelligently makes decisions and feeds back to the server about which hands those cards have been played to; then effectively decisions are made and communicated to the terminals.
I think the Blackjack product will do well in the UK and Europe because in the UK and others in Europe, you have to have the physical random event delivered in the venue; in Asia you can use virtual cards, so electronic Blackjack would be a different proposition.
CI: What’s new for you product-wise in
2010 and 2011? LG: Inspired recently launched ‘Storm’ the
first high definition widescreen cabinet, currently installed in the UK licensed betting office sector and being rolled out in Italy. William Hill has had great success with this cabinet, combined with our platform and content range, so we’re excited to see the same success replicated in the Italian VLT market.
Many of our games are now being produced in high definition, so high definition, wider and larger screens give us the opportunity to present in a much clearer way new functionality and features to the player base.
What we’re really excited about as a company at the moment is the massive opportunity in Italy… It’s a great market, with a real appetite for innovative gaming products
For the casino market there is still demand for our Multi-Win Roulette product, but we are excited about launching a new products for the international casino market at ICE 2011. Watch this space!
CI: How much can you alter your hardware depending on the customer’s needs and wants?
LG: Inspired is not precious about our
hardware. We have some great looking cabinets and offer a range of formats from our in-house range, but if a customer wants another cabinet, we are flexible enough to combine our platform with the hardware of their choice.
We’ve also made bespoke cabinets when
customers have requested it, such as Aspers for example. To a degree, we are hardware agnostic, and our approach allowed us to be open minded about the opportunity and we made a bespoke configuration and a unique look for Aspinalls. The future will see a lot more product customisation from us for our customers, I think.
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