The current advertisement from Storm Gaming Technology contains the line, “Not all Storms disrupt your life, some clear your path”. Such is the vibe surrounding the November appointment of Tony Eyre as chief operating officer. In Tony, Storm has appointed a man with a track record of deciding what needs doing, organising resources and getting the job done. When we caught up with the man himself, he was, as ever, ‘full steam ahead’…
Coinslot: How did the move to Storm come about, and what qualities do you feel you bring to your new role?
Tony Eyre:I have known Steve Murray for almost 25 years.We maintained a close relationship through our respective roles at Games Media and Games Warehouse, where their IND:E SWP and our Paragon competed for market placement. I do enjoy reminding Steve how Paragon became the benchmark touchscreen terminal, outselling IND:E by some 5:1. Joking aside, we have always kept touch and on a Bacta motorcycling outing last summer, we decided the timing was right to bring our talents together, for the betterment of gaming content in the land-based retail and igaming sectors. I subsequently met with Storm’s investment team, including founder Richard Sheldon and director, James Grenfell and they gave me confidence in their focus on the strategies and plans. I am excited by these opportunities and know that I will help drive the business forward to become the market leader it deserves to be.
CS: What most excites you about the challenges ahead, within Storm and across the wider gaming markets?
TE:Working with Richard, Steve and the rest of the team,we are spending time with customers, listening to what they want, and balancing these needs with player trends and technology developments. Our latest Vegas 20/20 content release represents the land-based sector’s very first fully switchable Cat C/B4 content compendium.Vegas 20/20, both in upgrade kit form and on the Neon and GT6000 machines,generated £400,000 worth of orders in its first two weeks since release.I am also excited by Storm’s growing igaming presence.A leading IP business applauded Storm’s latest game as the best they’d reviewed for an imminent release program.This is just one example from the library coming through our studio,which includes Captain Cashfall, Magic Merlin MegawaysTM, Bar X MegawaysTM, Love Island and Dancing on Ice.There are still hurdles to overcome but our dynamic environment, with clear focus and in-house talent pool, promises a very bright future.
CS: What factors, in the industry and beyond, do you believe are most relevant, and what will be the greatest drivers of change?
TE:The biggest driver of change is technology. Development now moves at a white- knuckle pace,requiring clear thinking and a deliverable medium to long term roadmap. Legislation and social responsibility are at the forefront of our thinking, ensuring that Storm offers games that players want to play and a safe environment in which to play.
CS: From a core business perspective, how do you propose to improve and build on Storm’s current position?
TE:In terms of content, platforms, enclosure and systems, we must be world class.These primary elements will unite in a compelling package backed by enticing,and potentially new, business models.
CS: Within the wider igaming sector, how will Storm learn from its experiences to date and establish itself as a prominent player?
TE:Storm’s initial forays into igaming have been arduous and lessons have been learned. However, we have ‘earned our stripes’ and now have an enviable reputation in the sector, with growing demand for our content.ICE 2019 sees us with an almost full diary of operator meetings,with a view to achieving the widest possible reach and efficient integrations.
CS: ICE is now the biggest gaming event in the global calendar, so what is Storm bringing to the party that will capture the attention going forwards?
TE:Ironically,we are already working towards ICE 2020, with new technologies, content and game play profiles.That said, visitors to this week’s ICE will see exciting new game innovations and will hopefully welcome the progress we have made. For the land-based sectors,our flexibleVegas 20/20 game software and its dual switching Cat C and B4 profiles gives this new pack- age a very clear point of difference in terms of competitive advantage.And its sister release,theVegas 20/20 £500 pack,is dedicated to addressing the FOBT stake reduction. For igaming,ICE 2019 will see our library of games,the preview of Meg- awaysTM and its integration into our first two games, Magic Merlin and Bar X, marking a significant turning point for Storm within the sector.
CS: Can you explain in more detail the MegawaysTM offer and what makes it so attractive?
TE:MegawaysTM is an extremely imaginative interactive reel system,offering players a mouth-watering number of ways to win. Created by BigTime Gaming,with whom Storm is partnering,MegawaysTM delivers combinations of possibilities that seem endless. No other slots games offer so many possibilities with each single spin which is why the concept is proving so successful with players.
CS: Apart from strengthening Storm’s position domestically, what steps will you be taking to grow your business internationally?
TE:When it comes to igaming, we want to be in well-regulated markets across the world.These opportunities are only identified and developed on the back of a strong reputation and exceptional and trusted contacts. Our growing reach now sees Storm operating in almost every continent world- wide, and our plans include relationships and partnerships that will expand our presence in these markets.
CS: Finally, where do you believe Storm and Tony Eyre will be sitting in the scheme of things when 2019 reaches its end?
TE:I am confident that we’ll be satisfied with the year’s work,excited by the team’s achievements and poised to be going into the most successful and productive trade show in the company’s history at ICE 2020.