Ainsworth Game Technology

Ainsworth takes more spins based on the success of the QuickSpin brand and its high-denomination hits

The success of the popular QuickSpin game brand stems from Australian slot manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology’s creation of a combined R&D force in 2016.

That year, the company’s original Sydney game design studio was augmented by the addition of two studios in the U.S.—one opened with the new U.S. headquarters in Las Vegas, and a Class II studio in South Carolina, inherited with the acquisition of Nova Technologies.

Ainsworth has put out several QuickSpin titles since then—the company’s biggest hits playing on high-hit-frequency wheel play mechanics. According to Mike Trask, director of marketing and product management for Ainsworth, QuickSpin has been the company’s most successful brand in 2018.

“Every single QuickSpin game available in the library is a for-sale product that casino operators can own outright,” notes Trask. “So when you look at numbers on for-sale games that are one-and-a-half, two times house average, those are home runs. This is core content that a casino operator can purchase, place on their floor, and we’re showing that 18 months down the line it’s still going to be doing well for them.”

The QuickSpin series started in late 2017 with the release of Super Hot 7s and Super Charged 7s. Today, Ainsworth has several different games in the QuickSpin family on casino floors, including the follow-up titles Super Lantern 8s and Super Crystal 7s.

In August, the company launched MultiPlay Super Charged 7s, a QuickSpin version enabling casino visitors to play up to four reel sets. And in September, Ainsworth launched Super Sonic 7s, the first QuickSpin game available on the dual-screen EVO, A600 and Slant Top cabinets. Both will be highlighted at the company’s Global Gaming Expo booth.

Each QuickSpin title—whether on single or dual screen—offers familiar game play with a focus on frequent wheel bonuses (about one in every 60 spins on the majority of titles) and an entertainment-based, low-volatility base game.

“With Super Charged 7s, the original game, we really focused on the hit rate of the wheel, how frequently that happens,” explains Cody Herrick, director of game design. “It’s low volatility, so there are a lot of mixed pays that happen during the base game. But we kept a lot of the wins in that wheel, so when the player does get the wheel it’s very lucrative for them.”

At this year’s Global Gaming Expo, Ainsworth will showcase at least 10 different QuickSpin brand games in Class III, plus two exclusive Class II versions.

Eilers & Krejcik performance surveys reveal that every one of them is currently earning above house average wherever it is placed. The QuickSpin brand was nominated for Best Video Slot of 2018 in the Eilers Awards, a first for Ainsworth. “It really put us on the map in that 1-cent market, and it continues to grow for us,” says Trask.

“When you look at the reason these are successful, our belief is that it’s the volatility level. Compared to a lot of products, it’s a much more entertainment-based, low-volatility game. And everybody loves a wheel. That was actually our tagline for the first iteration of QuickSpin. Everybody loves a wheel, and it holds true. Each wheel game continues to perform very well.”

According to the Eilers & Krejcik reports, Super Charged 7s, the first QuickSpin game, is earning 1.42 times house average in the field, 18 months after its introduction. Even the clones of that game, Super Crystal 7s and Super Lantern 8s, are turning in similar numbers in pennies after half a year in the field. The mid-denomination versions—5 cents and 10 cents—are doing even better. “The nickel game has been awesome for us,” Trask says.

At G2E, Ainsworth will double down on all that success with compelling new games for the series. Multiplay Super Charged 7s,

released recently on the A640 portrait cabinet, puts the original game in a four-play format—the exact math and game mechanics, on up to four reel sets simultaneously. (The player can play two or four sets.)

According to Trask, the new game has been performing at nearly two times house average across a dozen games on test banks at California and Oklahoma casinos.

“With Multiplay Super Charged 7s, you can trigger multiple free games on the different reel sets, so instead of getting your eight games on one screen, you’re able to trigger that four times across the reels,” says Herrick. “Same thing with the wheel spins. You can trigger multiple wheel spins on a single spin, across the four reel sets. It comes with a little bit higher bet, but with that the prizes on the wheel increase accordingly.

“So, the player is still getting the frequent wheel spins, now almost four times as often, and the wheels are going to pay more than the original as well. We’re really excited about getting this out.”

Trask adds that four reel sets also jacks up the bonus frequency. “On (the single-array versions), the wheel’s going to spin once every 56 spins. When you do the math on the four-play, every 13 spins playing all four reel sets, you’re going to get significant action.”

“The scatter to trigger the wheel is a six-symbol starting scatter, so generally, that symbol comes across a lot,” says Herrick, whose Las Vegas studio has produced all the QuickSpin games. “There is a lot of audio that goes along with it, so it is an easy chase to find, an easy symbol to find as it’s coming across the reels. You’re going to get that symbol a lot.”

On top of that, says Herrick, when you land more than six of the scatter symbols, multipliers are applied to the wheel values, up to a maximum of 5X. “When you get up to 3X, 4X, 5X territory, that’s going to be a big coin shower; that’s going to be a huge win,” he says.

In late summer, Ainsworth released the first QuickSpin game on the dual-screen EVO cabinet, called Super Sonic 7s.

Other versions of QuickSpin on display at G2E will include Turbo Charged 7s, a linked progressive version on the A640 cabinet that increases the possible wheel multipliers up to a maximum 25X during free spins. Super Wheel 7s is also available, which uses similar art and game play on a non-progressive version of the game.

But the highlights of the Ainsworth display might be Super Lit Vegas and Super Charged 7s Classic.

Super Lit Vegas is a QuickSpin variation that incorporates a persistent state kind of game. Players spin through seven game cycles. Throughout the cycle players collect symbols that become wild on the seventh spin. But if a player collects eight or more they also get a wheel spin.

Super Charged 7s Classic offers a five- or nine-line game built to provide a stepper-style game experience. Super Charged 7s Classic combines the strength of the QuickSpin brand with the other game style that has brought the company much success—high-denomination video slots.

“High-denom is in our DNA,” says Trask. “This absolutely is our strong suit as a company.”

Super Charged 7s Classic will be available in quarter and higher denominations.

“Generally, our focus here, and the focus of Cody’s team, has been first and foremost to absolutely to capitalize on QuickSpin,” says Trask. “We are taking the wheel brand forward with persistent-play, three-reel options, link options—we’re essentially taking everything we can and adding it to QuickSpin. This is the brand that can drive us forward, particularly in the 1-cent market.”

 

High-Denom Strength

Trask lists several of Ainsworth’s high-denomination offerings that are consistently performing at more than two times the house average. Part of the company’s strategy moving forward is to provide this content across all platforms.

“Dollar Action, Dollar Chief, Grand Dragon and Mustang Money 2 are four of Ainsworth’s best performing games, ever,” he says. “They remain four of the top-performing high-denom games from any manufacturer, anywhere in the world. So we are taking those four titles to our single-screen format. We’ve already done that with Thunder Cash, Eagle Bucks and other iconic high-denom games. We are moving more and more content to the single-screen A640 format.”

Other high-denom standouts include Kanga Riches, Ainsworth’s first high-denom progressive link in many years.

In the penny and multi-denom libraries, Ainsworth continues to expand its offerings.

Mad Millions, a linked progressive product, includes a stand-alone “Win Before” secondary progressive. It displays the level before which the progressive must hit.

The penny offerings will be accompanied by another new game series for the A640 portrait cabinet, Reel Force. The two inaugural games in the series, Arrows of Love and Thunder of Asgard, feature a cascading reel feature. Typically, two or three line wins on a spin will cause the winning symbols to disappear, and other symbols cascade into their spots, continuing until no wins are on the screen.

A free-spin feature expands the reels to a maximum eight rows, for more paylines and more cascades. In the free spins, every symbol that disappears in a cascade is accumulated for a bonus award at the end of the feature.

Also featured at G2E will be a complete lineup of games that are available either on the single-screen A640 or the dual-screen EVO. Highlights include Ultimate Upgrade, a persistent-state game that has players collecting symbols toward several different features, including multipliers, extra pay lines and wild symbols; and Electric Cash Link, a linked product with a hold-and-respin bonus. Each has a pair of inaugural games on tap for G2E launch, with more in the pipeline.

“Persistent-state games are having their moment,” Trask says, “and many of the persistent-play games currently in the field will feature one play mechanic, where the player is chasing that play mechanic in a 10-spin cycle. On Ultimate Upgrade, there are five different features within it, so throughout a cycle of spins, a player can collect extra lines, multipliers, wilds, expanding wilds and some other play mechanics. They are chasing multiple options for how they are going to capitalize on their 10th spin. It’s going to have legs for us on both of our platforms.”

Ainsworth also arrives at G2E with a lineup of new third-party games, which the company is using to expand its library. One highlight in this group is Vault of Riches, which features cash-style reel symbols and special symbols that feed into a vault, which randomly opens to pay a bonus.

The third-party games complement what Trask says has been a “massive influx of talent” to the U.S. development studio, where Herrick has added four game developers in the past year.

This year’s G2E will show the results of all that talent—and its implications for the future of Ainsworth’s still-growing R&D power.

Frank Legato
Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.  

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