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IGT embarked on a whirlwind Avatar tour of the world at G2E in Vegas. G3 spoke to IGT’s Sabby Gill in London about the game’s reception on the global stage

Like the best rock bands, IGT's James Cameron Avatar video slot is halfway through its world tour, having launched at the G2E show in Las Vegas and notched the Buenos Aires exhibition under its belt, IGT's Sabby Gill and Phil O'Shaughnessy were proudly showing off one of the biggest gaming titles of all time at the ICE show in London last month. 'What makes Avatar special, explained Mr. O'Shaughnessy, "is the design of the game. The way that our games studio worked so closely with James Cameron, his designers and his graphics specialists. If you look at the movie and the slot, this is the first time that a games developer and a movie studio has worked so closely together to realise a video slot game. And the results speak for themselves."

“We've had a fabulous reception in every market in which we’ve shown Avatar,” continued Mr. Gill. “And the response in Europe has been just as thrilling with units already placed in Monaco with SBM, who have done a great job in launching the game its players, which has resulted in the best game performance figures that they've ever seen. Already we have 15 additional new placements in France with Groupe Tranchant and constant requests over the course of the ICE show for both Avatar and the next big IGT title, Jurassic Park.”

Right across the stand at ICE, IGT has been very successful in creating themed zones around its slots, with the Naavi warriors and the Tree of Souls creating a sense of atmosphere and excitement as you approach the games. "One of the things that operators can struggle with is the additional marketing activities around big licence launches," stated Mr. Gill. "All of the additional merchandising materials shown at ICE are available to operators to maximise the game roll out across their properties. In France, before the launch of Avatar, the operators wanted to utilise social media to drive interest and participation among players. One of the ingenious ways this was accomplished was using time-specific

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Sabby Gill, Senior Vice President of International Sales, IGT.

"We've had a fabulous reception in every market in which we've shown Avatar. And the response in Europe has been just as thrilling with units already placed across France Monaco with SBM and the Tranchant Groupe.”

coupons, giving players a scheduled opportunity to play Avatar. Rather than create a stampede of players with the inevitable queues that would ensue, players were guaranteed their own time to play, offering a proper experience of the game."

Further supporting operators, IGT offers the widest possible range of financing options, from leasing and participation through to daily fees and, of course, cash. What's special is not just the range of games offered by IGT via every financial model available, but the distribution of those games as stand-alone titles, server-based games and via the Cloud. "Last year the UK's Rank Group launched with IGT Cloud," said Mr. Gill. "Installed at both Reading G Casino and the Victoria Casino on Edgeware Road in London,

Rank is now looking to take this installation to the next stage with a roll-out across additional locations. The benefits of the IGT Cloud solution are manifold, with operators no longer having to manage servers and absorb hardware infrastructure costs, with all IGT Cloud back-end systems the responsibility of the suppliers. Operators now have a complete view of their entire floor with IGT Cloud, a technology that is available today, not tomorrow. IGT is leading the change, while everyone else is playing catch-up."

One of the key issues over which IGT is also leading the charge is in the area of convergence, helping operators to connect with players across land-based, online, social and mobile. "Our perspective is to deploy games any time, any where and in the most cost-effective manner," explained Mr. Gill. "To do that we look to make the game once and let it work everywhere for the operator. I think that 2014 is going to be an important year for the adoption of technology that enables operators to really benefit from the connection of games with players, both within locations and off-site. As we see the economy recovering across Europe, operators are looking at how they can differentiate their floors and games like Avatar, solutions such as the IGT Cloud and those individual touch points with players, from social, mobile, online and land-based, provide operators with the greatest possible competitive advantage."

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