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THE BIG INTERVIEW


example of this would be Star Stax, the multi-level linked progressive on the CrystalCurve cabinet. This was initially designed and developed for the Australian market, and we saw good success there with very positive player feedback. We then fine-tuned it for different territories in the rest of the world, where we are going to go test it in near future.


CI: Games often do not have a long shelf life; does this way of working almost extend the game’s useful life?


GB: Extending longevity on the floor is of course the intent.. The primary reason for the testing program is to take risk away from the customer. We strongly believe in the quality over quantity approach. If we swamped our customers with titles and a proportion of those are not performing, we are not helping them or ourselves. With the Test Banks program we can offer our customers games that have a history of good performance and a good chance of success. Our belief is that this will also translate into longevity.


CI: How does the Test Bank work?


GB: We have customers in the various regions who work with us on this, and our new titles are installed first with those customers.


CI: So they are with established, paying customers of IGT on a real casino floor?


GB: Yes. It’s a live installation, a bank of terminals with our


games for their customers, to play as a regular player. We then monitor performance over a period of time, and at the end of this period we have the data to decide if the game is to be launched to a wider market, or if it is to be held back for improvement.


CI: What metrics do you measure for success then? Is it possible that a game would under perform in one site but perform brilliantly in another? What magic are you looking for?


GB: If you look at our game Fortune Coin, it is a Chinese- themed title and a volatile game. We initially launched it in North America on our Test Bank program as 99 Riches; we saw disappointing results with this, it was not awful but it was disappointing and we had expected much more. We all believed that the game had something in it that could make it a great game. So we re-worked it, re-tested it and results improved but not to the extent we had hoped. We took it out again, reworked it again, based on our observations and player feedback, and released it as Fortune Coin. It is has


since performed at a very high level in a North American Test Bank, and we are very happy with it. Mostly what we look at is floor average for a machine. We look at the standard KPIs, such as games played, net win and turnover – all compared to floor average.


CI: Do you work solely on international titles, or do you look across the entire IGT portfolio for things that may work in other territories?


GB: I think the thing that makes IGT strong is that we are one global team. We are extremely transparent internally, so we share and discuss the results of games in all regions and have very intense discussions about which titles to take where. We are always exploring, and using our global portfolio to try and make the best calls for each market. We have a game that was developed in Graz [Austria] that is the number one game in the U.S.; and Wild Fury was created in Reno, it has been all around the world and was deployed in many different markets. Some things won’t be relevant to all markets –the simple fruit games, for example in North America, which we primarily do for Eastern Europe – as players are not used to that sort of game.


CI: To what extent do you customise for a territory? You must have a cutoff point at which you say, enough is enough.


GB: We do. There is no clear answer I can give here, we have experts for all the markets and when we discuss how to modify the games we will have the right people in the conversation to make that call. Sometimes it is a very light modification, a tweak of the pay loading, sometimes it is modifying conceptual portions of the game; it’s not black and white.


JULY 2019 41


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