Despite feeling that the industry is currently being held back by regulations, UDC sales director Jonathan Lauder has been pleased with the feedback UDC have received from both operators and players in 2019, expressing his confidence that the products on the company’s stand at this year’s EAG will be “all killer, no filler”.
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Jonathan Lauder, UDC sales director: This year UDC have a bumper crop of new games and we’re very excited to bring them to our UK customers. The team work hard and travel extensively to bring you the best games from around the world, and for 2020 we’ve got a terrific line up that music aficionados would term “all killer, no filler” – every one of them stands to be a hit for operators and with players.
In addition to the popular water-gun games that have performed so well for us, we are launching light-gun games including the fast-shooting Fast Gunman single player and the sit-down T-Rex Fight! dinosaur-themed game, both with redemption tickets. Also appearing at EAG, fresh from its debut at IAAPA, is Carnival Cups that delighted attendees, along with Space Warp 66 which garnered much buzz, both from TouchMagix, distributed by UDC. Poke n Drop 6 player skill with prizes game is back at EAG for 2020 in a slightly shorter cabinet to better accommodate lower ceilings and smaller doorways for UK, another tried and trusted game that has performed well, especially with the giant chocolate bar prices. Joining these will be our latest air hockey table, Aurora, which is a beautiful model that lights up and changes colour. It’s a real eyecatcher and plays like a dream.
Another innovation we will be showing is our ‘half size’ redemption tickets, giving operators double the number of tickets in a bundle and using half the paper per ticket. We’ve already got a significant number of customers switching to this new design, with new artwork customised to maximise the impact of this development. Any ticket mechanism that operates on notches can dispense these new shorter tickets and the new generation Ticket Station reads and accepts them alongside the regular full-size tickets, with or without barcode security.
CSR: How did trading fair during 2019 and what were your company’s stand-out moments?
JL: Many of our lines have had incredible feedback from 2019 with customers coming back with bigger orders having seen the initial earnings for numerous games.
Where to start? The 4 player black or white Toy Box crane from 2019 was hugely successful and it’s back with a big brother in the Midi model to accompany the original Mini. Both are compact, really eye-catching, tied-up with the big pink bow on top, having exceeded expectations on location throughout the summer.
One of our big hits for 2019 was the cowboy Wild West Shootout shooting game, and it’s back in 2020 with improved software offering even more levels, more baddies and more fun. The little Duckling Fight water game for little kids made a big splash earlier in the year with operators. The little yellow ducks give it a real old-fashioned funfair feel. The seats make it perfect for adults to play with the kids and the two player cabinet allows siblings and friends to play each other.
On a personal level, 2019 was a very challenging year for UDC with the passing of industry stalwart Michael Green after a long illness, leaving a huge void in the company. Having said that everyone pulled together to fulfil the companies’ potential. UDC slowly recovered from this loss and when I joined UDC I was truly impressed with the professionalism and energy here. I really think that we have a strong team and a stronger line up of product going into EAG 2020.
CSR: What are the market trends that are catching your attention? What kind of feedback are you getting from players and operators?
JL: At UDC we’ve concentrated on providing excellent value for money, at the right price points, resulting in affordable equipment that deliver very good cash box returns. The feedback from customers has been unanimously positive, including the paying players who also demand value for money from their game experience. Redemption continues to go from strength to strength. There’s also been a resurgence of small prize cranes and skill for prizes games. Point and shoot games continue to earn good money with their easy to pick-up gameplay.
CSR: What kinds of legislation or regulatory changes are you looking for to help drive your business forward?
JL: I believe that the whole industry would benefit from a relaxation of regulation with regards to low stake/low payout ‘category D’ and redemption games, even coin pushers and cranes, removing red tape and unnecessary overhead. These are essentially games any five-year-old can play, it doesn’t appear sensible or practical to regulate these under the same regime as casinos, over 18’s slot machines, online gambling or bingo. The Gambling Act and Gambling Commission currently treats the industry with a one size fits all approach, painting us all with the same brush, demanding the same reporting and licencing requirements. There must be a more effective solution than the current status quo.
CSR: With the UK’s exit from the EU now determined, how will this affect your business processes and plans going forward?
JL: That’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question! No one knows for certain the entirety of what Brexit may bring. I can assure you, that here at UDC, we will not change our positive outlook and will continue to supply our customers and provide top-notch support.
Looking back on other historical political upheavals shows us a few things, people will always want entertainment, they will when they can provide their children and families with fun and delightful experiences. No matter what hardships life brings us the entrepreneurial spirit of our industry will shine through as we find a way to provide these things, as we have done as a whole, for over a hundred years.