The days preceding each year’s ICE Totally Gaming at London’s ExCel Conference and Exhibition Centre are always, for exhibitors and visitors alike, filled with expectation. What will this, gaming’s ‘greatest show on earth’, have in store this time around? Athanasios ‘Sakis’ Isaakidis, the company’s CEO International and head of International Product Management explains that for Merkur Gaming the expectation is higher than ever and, indeed, to quote the author Charles Dickens, the term ‘Great Expectations’ is particularly apt. Casino Review posed some key questions concerning the products that will attract show visitors.
Casino Review: Merkur Gaming will debut its new Avantgarde Max cabinet at this year’s ICE. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Athanasios ‘Sakis’ Isaakidis: The Avantgarde slant top and its successive models such as the Avantgarde Trio have been a standout product in the Merkur Gaming range for some years now. It has been and continues to be a huge success around the world and now, here at ICE, we very proudly present its latest evolution, the Avantgarde Max. Available in two models, the Avantgarde Max and the Avantgarde Trio Max these brand new cabinets are Big in every sense of the word. Featuring two or three (depending on model) 31.5” full HD monitors, a new sound concept with its loudspeakers located at console height and thus enabling the player to become one with the game: truly, a fantastic experience. We think that we have a great product that both operators and players will find exciting and attractive. It is also a product that we are certain will be a huge success in a whole range of international markets. Adding a real touch of class, both models will be made available in Merkur Gaming’s Black Series design.
CR: In line with the Merkur’s ‘Opposites Attract’ theme, at the other end of the spectrum you’ll also be demonstrating the Allegro Trio as a Slant Top Slim in London. What are some of its standout features?
AI: We are also proud to introduce you to our royal slant top cabinet, the Allegro Trio. This elegant, slim and shapely cabinet is sure to catch the eye as it demonstrates its dimensional superiority. Designed for gaming floors that have limited space the Allegro Trio (that measures just 2064mm in height) has three brilliant 27” full HD displays that are just 9mm thick and which are virtually edgeless. With the Latest Gforce Ultra HD multi-game technology platform and the stylish looks that will turn heads the Allegro Trio presents slimline looks and powerful performance, all in one.
CR: What will be some of the other highlights of your ICE presentation this year?
AI: Two striking themes across the ICE booth will be a very strong focus on Jackpots. Starting with the Linked Progressive Jackpot Treasure Link, and its five-strong new game range that provide the path to the Maxi Stand- Alone Progressive and Mega Linked Progressive Jackpots. With great thematic diversity across its five base games and a real thrill in the free Cash Games feature that leads towards the excitement of the jackpots, Treasure Link is truly a gaming sensation.
The jackpots do not stop there a Merkur Gaming presents Rapid Thunder, a Five level static Non-Progressive Jackpot Feature combined with six unique base games. Add to that Jewels of the Nile, Runnin’ Wild, Striking Fortunes and Big Deal Wheel and the jackpots just keep on coming.
In all, the Merkur Gaming booth will feature more than 160 games, 12 of which are contained in a brand new multi-game collection and then there is the HD multi-game Neon Collection, available in five distinctive colour presentations. Additionally we will show, in both hybrid and theatre configurations, the Merkur Roulette that is a great new addition to the ever growing Electronic Table Games landscape.
As to the booth itself this, the largest exhibit in ExCel’s North Halls, sees some changes designed to be beneficial to the thousands of visitors expected at ICE. The Merkur Gaming Information Desk has moved up front and centre and will greet visitors arriving through the N4 entrance. Plus, some areas have been widened, particularly those areas where major aisles bisect the booth space. This will eliminate some of the previous choke points on the booth and make it a more welcoming and easy to navigate space. All in all, Merkur Gaming has every reason to have Great Expectations ahead of ICE: it is going to be a great show!
CR: Looking at the EMEA region, where is it heading in terms of consumer trends and what are players and operators looking for? I believe you’ll be showcasing new content from your US game design studio Sunshine Games – American-style games seem to have been a big success for Merkur.
AI: In every region the trends are similar. Both operators and players have a seemingly unstoppable desire for that intangible ‘something new’, a something that addresses the wish for ever greater levels of gaming entertainment. That is something that is being addressed very strongly by our US game design studio Sunshine Games. Their invention and innovation has been constant and now, with recently achieved GLI approvals (and many more very much at the business end of the pipeline) their success in bringing new game concepts and presentations to market is coming good. The interesting thing about Sunshine is that their games were initially targeted at our US market entry but the reality now is that they have found a wider appeal, in Latin America, for example and now in Europe. It all just goes to demonstrate that great ideas are not constrained by boundaries …and Sunshine Games keep on working at full speed to come up with more and more great ideas.
STAND: N4-110, 210, 220 & 250