Away from the prevailing discussions of redemption, video gaming units have been enjoying a resurgence of their own amongst Britain’s coastal operators argues Justin Burke, general manager of sales at Sega UK.
Coinslot: Coastal operations have always been a uniquely traditional offering to visitors. Is Sega seeing any change in trends here? Are operators looking at more diverse options?
Justin Burke: “Whilst redemption continues to play a significant role in FECs it needs acknowledging that the video genre is having a resurgence; we have seen a steady rise in the uptake mainly from the success of games like Transformers, Daytona and now fresh on the arcade floor House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn. The amount of video positions in a seaside arcade will never match those of the video heyday due to social change, but those that invest in a select number of video games and give the public a good offering will reap the benefits.”
CS: What products are showing promise for the season ahead?
JB: “In the past two weeks we have seen the very first House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn games reach the UK. Launched at IAAPA this is the 5th incarnation of the legendary Sega title. Offering an out-of-home experience it is bringing the video game well and truly up to date with player expectations, and beyond.”
CS: The British seaside is in the midst of a comeback. What do you think is driving this?
JB: “There are so many factors that can be attributed to the seaside revival – in no particular order you can list reasons such as economic, social change, vintage revival, quality of offerings; there certainly seems to be a generational desire to visit the seaside with people wanting to share with their children the seaside they remember from their childhood. With the seaside offering so much better than it was say ten or twenty years ago the current generation is a perfect fit to visit.”
CS: Both for yourself, and the wider scope of the industry, how important are coastal operations?
JB: “The British seaside is incredible important to the amusement industry; other than its uniqueness in its use of pushers it otherwise draws parallels to the wider global FEC market. Thus for a company like Sega what works in a seaside arcade will work in an FEC around the world, and visa versa. This allows us to work with seaside operators closely to develop product to their very best, and given the hands on approach from this sector of the market it’s a win-win for us and them.”
CS: New trends and innovation are key to any sector, what areas of development are you looking into for the seaside market?
JB: “A lot of the innovation these days is hidden, in that the technology in the games makes them more user friendly for the operator and engineer etc, but certainly the innovation or technology that improves is all focused on providing a better game and game experience for the player.”
CS: Finally, cash or cashless. How do you square that circle in a seaside operation, if indeed it does need addressing?
JB: “Ultimately society will go more and more cashless orientated; as I look at my own children and see their desire not to handle cash, it tells you there will eventually get to a point where what is a cash business has to adapt. Clearly this has huge implications for the traditional pusher but also for the casual transient player that the seaside attracts.”