The Atronic Group was originally known for great 3D video and unique, ergonomic cabinet design. It still is, but now, add in the capabilities of its sister company—Canadian slot-maker Spielo—and its parent company, lottery giant GTech.
GTech is itself now a division of Italy’s Lottomatica, but the conglomerate’s slot-manufacturing arm has continued to play on the strengths of its two main brands. Spielo is one of the top suppliers in the video lottery market, while in commercial casinos, the Atronic brand has barely skipped a beat.
For the past two years, Atronic and Spielo have worked at combining their resources to further the strong product lines of each former company. For Atronic, that has meant improving its franchise products—none more popular than the “Deal Or No Deal” series.
Deal Or No Deal was originally based on the European version of the popular game show, but quickly took off after U.S. TV audiences went ape over the American version of the show. The company has since released several versions of Deal Or No Deal, all centered around the bonus game that re-creates the game show itself—the “Briefcase Bonus,” in which the player selects a briefcase from a group as his own, and reveals the bonus contents of several others before accepting or rejecting an offer from the “Bank.”
This year, the “Deal” franchise becomes Atronic’s flagship product with a new community-style game being launched at G2E. “Deal Or No Deal—Join ‘N Play” was first shown at G2E in 2008, but has since been tweaked and refined in response to customer feedback.
“Since then, we have been observing the market and trying to design a community game that avoids the pitfalls of community games, and that provides a player-centric experience,” says Mike Brennan, Atronic’s product manager. “Community games have given players a lot of stress to play fast, and they feel the uncertainty of when a bonus is going to occur, and the frustration of not having bonus frequency or of not getting to the bonus.”
Join ‘N Play addresses all those concerns in grand style, with a bank of games topped by an enormous display of five linked 40-inch LCD monitors. The scatter-pay base games are all comfortable slant-tops, and each has three base-game bonuses in addition to the community “Briefcase” event.
The community event, though, is the center of this game. For the first time, Deal Or No Deal U.S. star Howie Mandell is the host, and the community event is on a timer—it happens every 11 minutes, guaranteed. Eligibility for the bonus comes from playing the base game and collecting “qualification briefcases” on each reel. “More reels are activated by betting more,” explains Brennan. If you collect 18 briefcases, you are eligible for the bonus, and if you get another 18, the bonus is played at 2X—and so forth.
“You can collect 40 qualification briefcases on one spin,” Brennan says. “That gets you two multipliers—a 3X bonus.” He says the minimum bet qualifies the player for the bonus most of the time.
“The key to the game is how entertaining the base game is, and how players love to chase those multipliers,” says Brennan, who notes that there also are mini-bonuses in the base game that provide a microcosm of the gambling feature that has made Deal so popular—take a bonus or take a risk for a higher or lower bonus.
While the new Deal game will be the highlight of Atronic’s G2E lineup, also featured will be the “Game Boss TournaMaster” controller, which is the only tournament system currently available for sale rather than recurring-revenue arrangement; and new games in all the manufacturer’s categories.
Other game highlights include “Captain’s Key,” which uses a bonus-within-a-bonus feature to take players “deeper into the game,” says Brennan; “Icarus,” which features a unique take on free-spin games; and “Wild Orient,” with a unique spin on the stacked wild feature.