Bandai Namco heads to EAG on the back of a good year of trading in which high quality redemption still held king. James Anderson, Commercial & sales Director, explains all.
Coinslot Review: How did trading fare during 2019 for Bandai Namco?
James Anderson: The UK market is challenging in some sectors but as a whole we performed well due to the many market-leading products we offer. We also benefitted from offering flexible opportunities to various customers including using third-party finance and this helped during some uncertain times in 2019.
Our Services Division, led by Chris Bell, offers flexible supply solutions for operators including profit share on the wide range of high-income products offered by the company. This arrangement has proved itself over the years with the nationwide bowling companies and is now being taken up by more independent operators due to the great zero-capital outlay opportunity it offers and the knowledge of nationwide service from trained engineers.
CSR: What are the market trends which are catching your attention right now? What kind of feedback are you getting from players and operators?
James Anderson: We are noticing that the demand for redemption is still increasing year on year. Customers are looking for good quality redemption pieces that will keep their mix fresh, such as the 2-player redemption ball game, Ball Madness, which we are showing at EAG. The game was first shown in 2019 and we listened to the feedback from the operators at the show, updated the product and tested it extensively in the 2019 season.
Quality prizes are also a continuing trend – we concentrate on retail quality, licensed or branded plush or prizes because that’s what players and arcades want. Anything less, doesn’t leave the right impression.
Then of course – the other market trend we are all noticing is the cashless revolution. Arcades are waking up to the benefits of doing away with cash, such as increased spend, cleanliness, security and promotional opportunities. Steve Short and the Management Solutions team are incredibly busy keeping up with enquiries in this field for the Embed suite of products.
CSR: What will be your key areas of focus over the coming 12 months?
James Anderson: Product! Strong products make everyone happy! Later this year we will be testing and launching more products developed by our US sister company as well as focusing on the strong line-up from third parties – including titles such as Nitro Trucks from Raw Thrills & Play Mechanix, Hot Wheels: King of the Road, from Adrenaline Amusements and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom from Andamiro.
CSR: Looking to the show, what are the highlights on your stand at next week’s EAG?
James Anderson: There are so many highlights on stand 620 at EAG this year; as well as our own games from Bandai Namco, we will of course be featuring many of the latest and best performing games from our partner companies, which include the most respected brands in the world, such as Raw Thrills, Adrenaline Amusements, Andamiro, Apple Industries, Triotech and TKM Technology.
Super Bikes 3™ from Raw Thrills is currently one of our most exciting titles and we have been struggling to keep up with demand in the EMEA. It has been redesigned from the ground up and is a real show-stopper. Another highlight at EAG will be Triotech Storm™ the new interactive VR coin-op simulator with two motion seats which doesn’t require an attendant. Featuring hand-gesture interactivity, players can compete for the highest score, therefore this is not just a passive ride but there is a competitive game play element that will lead to more repeat plays. We will also show a brand-new video basketball game from The Really Big Crane Co, called Zombie Jam. This offers a real twist on a proven formula – players dunk climbing zombies in order to advance through a number of challenging stages. Cabinets can be linked together to make the game even more exciting. I also urge visitors to check out the Marvel Adventure Lab Photo Booth from Apple Industries. This turns the player’s photo into comic book art, so they actually become part of a unique comic adventure, in comic strip or comic cover format appearing alongside their favorite Marvel characters (Spider-Man, Ant Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, Guardians of The Galaxy, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk).
In addition, Bandai Namco Management Solutions will reveal the latest from Embed, the world leader of cashless business management, including the first-tomarket Mobile Wallet for the arcade industry with a virtual game card that can be added to the Apple Wallet (on the IOS platform) and Google Pay (on the Android platform) and used to seamlessly play games.
Bandai Namco Amusement Europe Ltd (BNAE) will also take a wider range of prize and plush products than ever before to this year’s EAG. With a focus on retail quality and the most desirable brands, including the new Paddington range, a range of characters for the Warner Brothers new Birds of Prey movie featuring Harley Quinn, which is due out in February, new-look plush for the Wonder Woman 2 movie due for release in May, shiny PACMAN plush, Minecraft plush range and new PACMAN NFC speaker with light and wireless charger.