Bandai Namco Amusement Europe’s commercial and sales directors, James Anderson and Darrell Simmonds, prize division, comment on the company’s commitment to best-in-class redemption units and retail-quality merchandise.
Coinslot: Redemption has been one of, if not the most talked about machine types in the last few years, do you see this market importance continuing?
James Anderson: “There is a lot of innovation in the market and there are a lot of different game types to attract different players of different ages, so I do see redemption continuing to grow.We keep this in mind with some of our branding, such as DC Comics, which is loved by all ages.The kids know the characters and are attracted to the games, but the artwork on the machines is also tailored to appeal to the parents and grandparents.”
CS: Can you single out any specific products or innovations that have helped this success?
JA: “Space Invaders Frenzy has been a massive hit for us and most importantly for our customers. It’s a very strong title, that everyone understands, it has a giant screen and it makes every- one feel like a big kid again.
“The DC Comics Pusher (both two player and four player) continues to be a very strong piece in bowling locations and also around the coast.The strong branding and collectable cards attract players of all ages and keep them coming back.
“The Blox Breaker from Adrenaline is looking very strong as well and couple be one of the lead titles of the 2019 season.The game was previewed at IAAPA and then tested over Christmas in the UK.The game is an interactive ball throwing game, where players throw balls at screen. The initial testing in the UK showed this to be the highest income ball throwing game in the market surpassing other mechanical games.”
CS: How important is the physical engagement, and excitement factor for redemption units, especially viewed in the context of smart phones, tablets, video games at home etc.
JA: “People love to interact with redemption machines, it is adds to the excitement (and therefore the income). I think redemption relies on a number of things to work properly together. The machine cabinet needs to be attractive and the game needs to be compelling.Take Crazy Tower, for example, from Adrenaline Amusements, it is really unusual with its 3D holographic display and that attracts players, however,the simple concept of stacking and creating a tower can be easily grasped by all ages and it is the combination of the two that has made it so successful.Then the prizes themselves need to be enticing for players to want to stay and play more to achieve them. We use top licences, such as DC Comics, Harry Potter, Pac-Man and more, which have great appeal to players.Our electrical prizes are also highly desirable and extremely reliable, despite their relatively low price point. However, we also have prizes, such as branded confectionery, which kids are happy to win and which can be achieved with only a small number of tickets.”
CS: Today’s youth is increasingly brand-focused and tech-savvy. Is there an onus to develop machines and swag to reflect this? Be it in licensing, use of touch screens on machines etc?
Darrell Simmonds:“Firstly, we avoid the word swag which initially meant ‘sold without a guarantee’ – whereas we sell high-quality merchandise that is made to retail standard.That means we use suppliers who have ethical standards for their workers, the materials for plush, electrical and other prizes all meet the relevant important safety criteria, as you would expect for products which will be won by children. When we choose/design products we think about the customers’ experience, so when they get home and take the prize out of the box they are satisfied and happy to return and try to win more. When it comes to tech – it is especially challenging to work out what the next big thing will be and what might be just a passing phase, so we are constantly on the look-out for new and exciting products.”