Matt Bland of the UDC (United Distributing Company) presents a detailed look into the redemption business.
Which redemption games have been the most successful over the past twelve months for UDC?
We’ve been very happy with the entire range for 2016, especially games such as Chaos!, Tower of Tickets, Pieces of Eight, Tower of Terror Roll-down and Fishbowl Frenzy. All of these look set to perform well for 2017 as well. We have high hopes for our newer 2017 range of games, including Launch Code from Teamplay; Le Top, a 10p ticket pusher with a difference; Power Drop X-Treme from Benchmark Games and the new ‘Lara Jones Ticket Raider’ games, with a 2p roll-down model and a three-player 10p ticket slot machine.
What is the average lifetime of a redemption game?
Redemption games don’t tend to date as quickly as video games and have a much longer shelf life. Many operators are still using games which are up to ten years old. As long as the games are properly maintained they should continue to earn money. Obviously, it is important to rotate redemption games in your estate and add fresh new games each year to keep players from becoming bored. Games with a licence attached can have a big impact when they are new, but can become staid much more quickly once a trend has gone out of fashion.
What are the primary benefits of switching to redemption?
Redemption enables amusement centres to target a very wide age range and different types of players. It is particularly family friendly, with games that can be played by very young players and still be enjoyed by adults. Video games tend to target older children as they can be complicated or require fast reactions and ‘fine motor-skills’ for shooting, driving and dancing games. Gambling equipment is largely age restricted. If a group is segregated into different areas it is harder for them to enjoy a group experience. Adding redemption games into your offering makes it easier to entertain everyone in a single space.
How important are prizes in terms of redemption games succeeding?
Both prizes and games go hand in hand. For redemption to work as a concept operators need to be fully invested in it. Without at least a small selection of games and a good range of prizes players will not buy into the concept either. Experience shows that it’s not really possible to successfully ‘dip your toe’ into redemption as a business. Those businesses that have fully adopted it have found it very profitable and virtually everyone is continuing to expand their offerings. Whilst big prizes can grab people’s attention, don’t lose focus of the smaller end of the prize spectrum, so that no one goes home empty handed. There are obviously a wide range of branded toys and plush for various film and TV franchises which do really well and consumer electronics are very popular with mobile phones, tablets, chargers and accessories such as cases, memory sticks, etc. all doing well.
What are the different benefits to operators of skill-based vs luck-based redemption games. Is the industry trending one way in particular?
The vast majority of redemption games involve an element of skill, whether this is regards to simply timing the press of a button or performing a simple task. Games that rely upon ‘luck’ or ‘chance’ are often compensated to ensure that players are rewarded frequently to maintain an acceptable percentage, much like other machines. Pure skill games remain in their own category. Whilst there are some SWPs that reward players with redemption tickets, most offer prizes or cash due to the higher prize pay-out levels.
How does UDC go about selecting the games it distributes?
We have terrific, long standing, relationships with all the manufacturers we represent and select games from those companies which we feel will be most successful in our market. UDC travels the world looking for new games and concepts. There’s no ‘magic bullet’ which will ensure a game is successful, that’s why testing and revising is so important.