The strength of the redemption market only seems set to grow, with a focus on interactive, experiences and innovative solutions to the cashless question helping to keep players engaged and entertained comments Crown Direct’s Darren Chadwick
Coinslot: Redemption has been one of the defining products in the amusements sector over the past few years, how do you see the marketplace developing in 2020?
Darren Chadwick: “Without doubt redemption will continue to be the driving force and main offer on new games in 2020. We have seen tickets incorporated in Pushers and Cranes being awarded as secondary features on the traditional platforms.”
CS: How have you perceived the rise of cashless payment solutions affecting the redemption market?
DC: “The reduction of cash in society and especially with the younger generation is a real threat to redemption games and the FEC and leisure market in general. Operators have to think forward and make sure cash is available within the location. The Contactless Change machine from Lets Rock UK is a great example of this and how you can make cash easily available at a time when ATM’s are disappearing from the high street.”
CS: You’ve invested a great deal in redemption over the years, which of your products are resonating with the market, and why?
DC: “Our best selling game for this year will be Connect 4 Hoops from Baytek. The game is instantly recognisable and everyone knows how to play Connect 4, so coupling the game with shooting basketball hoops has been a fantastic success. The element of playing against each other adds a different dimension to playing against a machine. The game has proved popular with all ages and is establishing itself as the number one game in most locations.”
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?
DC: “Brands are key in all aspects of today’s marketplace and licensing of brands is a main offer across the redemption product range today. We have got new games out on test like Minion Carnival Chaos and Plinko currently, and I am confident these will be strong performers. But a brand doesn’t make a poor game good. The brand still has to be laid over a good game to deliver fun to the player.”
CS: What are your plans for the redemption market over the coming year or two?
DC: “We are always in close contact with our customers and players, trying to get feedback on current games and trends. We feed this back to our suppliers who hopefully take it on board and encompass it in their new product developments.”
CS: Simple question: what makes a good redemption unit?
DC: “For me it’s about delivering fun at an affordable price with a decent return by way of the tickets. Games that are interactive prove to be the most played.”
CS: With an increasingly tech and trend savvy audience, how do you ensure this is reflected in the prize offering?
DC: “This is very important, but this is prizes in the Prize Shop not from the machine itself. After a player has collected all the tickets they have won from lots of different games, they want to see some quality merchandise on offer in the prize shop.”
CS: Creeping regulation is an on-going issue for the industry, do you see this a viable threat to the redemption sector and what message needs to go back to government about how important – a safe – redemption is?
DC: “Redemption is fun for all the family, delivered in a safe and entertaining location. We don’t want overzealous regulation strangling the product and taking the fun experience away from families.”
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.
DC: “The mechanical and physical element of the games is vitally important. It goes back to the Connect 4 Hoops: you can’t play that or get that interaction from a device or sat at home.”