The slot products of Konami Gaming, Inc. have been on the rise in industry surveys like the Eilers-Fantini Game Performance Report. Cabinets and individual games have been appearing near the top of the Eilers-Fantini performance charts, and that’s due to a new focus by the company to listen to what customers and players are responding to on the slot floor.
“Konami’s focus going into the G2E season is really on delivering the games and technology that our casino customers and their players depend upon,” says Tashina Lazcano, director of marketing and communications for Konami Gaming, who says the company’s theme message for G2E is, “The games they want, the innovation you need.”
“Our aim is serving casino operators across the globe with top essential games and proven systems, innovations they need to power their success,” Lazcano says. “It’s a simple message, but one that resonates with our business. It resonates with our employee teams and it resonates with our casino partners.”
The performance improvements have been aided by the development of the Dimension family of cabinets, which last year added the Dimension 75C, a jumbo cabinet featuring a massive 75-inch main monitor. It was rolled out with the inaugural All Aboard and Ocean Spin game families. The company has now developed four 75C exclusive game packs in the All Aboard and Ocean Spin series.
The games also were individually released on the Dimension 49J cabinet, the premium cabinet featuring the J-curved 49-inch portrait monitor.
This year, Konami once again adds to the Dimension cabinet series. At G2E, the company will launch the Dimension 43×3, a nine-foot immersive form factor featuring three 43-inch 4K monitors, stacked in landscape orientation. It is available for sale or lease.
“Our Dimension line has seen a lot of traction and resonance with player audiences, and as a result, has given our casino operator customers strong results,” Lazcano says. “So going into G2E, we’re continuing to expand on the Dimension series by adding another Dimension form factor, and we’re continuing to bring out more value from those games that have demonstrated success and popularity with players.
“We’re taking what we love about Dragons Law Fortune, Stuffed Coins, and of course, All Aboard and Ocean Spin, and bringing that to more cabinets with some new fresh looks, as well as trying to get these products that we know work well to more customers.”
“It all comes down to performance and content,” adds Tom Jingoli, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Konami Gaming. “When we initially launched the Dimension 27 we faced significant content challenges, but we found a way to fully turn it around, and produced several of the industry’s top games. Tomo (Tomoaki Hirai, senior director, KGI-A game products) and his team have re-engaged back with the product, which is not an easy thing to do.
“And I think we’ve done a really good job of shifting the focus to the content and getting people back to those products.”
Konami has navigated its growth through the post-pandemic period “through sales demand and proven product,” Lazcano says. “We continued our R&D through the pandemic-related closures and maintained steady investment after. Konami’s not a company that’s prone to overreach on its resources. We invest in our business, but we do so with long-term organic growth and long-term organic gains.”
The company has three worldwide studios, in Australia, Japan, and the U.S. “Our U.S. studio has been challenged by an unpredictable and very competitive U.S. jobs market, but we are building back with a lot of smart, cooperative-minded individuals,” says Lazcano. “So that’s where we see a lot of that organic growth. I also want to emphasize increasing diversification—how Konami is continuing to invest in expanding sectors with iGaming, HHR and VLT. We are bringing our proven performing IP to those expanding sectors to help bring that value to those other markets.”
That competitive advantage starts with the games Konami brings to its G2E collection this year. The new Dimension 43×3 cabinet will be featured prominently, and the new games also will be available across the full Dimension line.
Jay Bertsch, Konami’s senior vice president & chief commercial officer, says the company is focused on flexibility when it comes to game hardware. “It’s about having the ability to take a concept, a game, and put it wherever the customer wants,” he says.
“The customer wants the ability to put a game on any one of their cabinets, since they’ve purchased them from Konami, whether it’s a portrait, whether it’s a dual-screen—they want that ability. And I think that’s where we’re carving out our niche. We’ve done it in Australia and we’re trying to carve it out in the U.S., for our customers to put pretty much any game on any platform they want.”
Konami’s G2E display will make some current favorites available either on the Dimension 43×3 or the Dimension 27. One such offering released earlier this year is the Stuffed Coins series, with base games Stuffed Coins Pig and Stuffed Coins Toad.
The games reprise the popular “Big Coin” mystery feature first seen in the game Ocean Spin. The top screen streams bonus awards and four jackpots across all machines on the bank. Randomly, the game’s main character—pig or toad—will appear on the screen to award one or two of the amounts streaming across the top.
“We released these a little over a year ago on the Dimension 27, and they’ve been on the Eilers report for the last several months,” says Andrew Culverson, senior manager, games & products at Konami Gaming. “Now, we’re starting to see them hit the overall report. For that, it requires specific benchmarks for the number of units on the floor, and the number of casinos. We’re starting to break into that overall report, which has been good.”
The two-level progressive has some flexibility built into it. “One thing the R&D team is doing is making those progressives a little more customizable,” Culverson says. “For the Grand, you can have a $2,500 reset or a $5,000 reset. Obviously, that benefits the sales team in the field, who aren’t restricted to offering those high-end values of $10,000 for casinos that can’t really support that.”
“One of the cool aspects of the Dimension 43×3 in a game like Stuffed Coins, which is obviously doing extremely well, is an inherent benefit with what the team’s done, both on the product side and on the engineering side,” says Jingoli. “Any content that the customer wants to run on this box, as long as it’s running on the Dimension 27 platform, we can forward to the 43×3.”
Other game families available on both the Dimension 27 and 43×3 cabinets are Lion Frenzy and Multiplier Stacks.
Lion Frenzy, with base games Jade Wishes and Scarlet Wishes, features cash-on-reels coin symbols and a bonus of the total coins on the screen when the lion character lands.
“Each game will have a unique free games and jackpot feature,” says Culverson. “During the free games for Jade Wishes, if you get that lion stacked on reel one, it determines the size of the coins on reels three, four, and five—it can expand from a two-by-two reel symbol all the way up to three-by-four, increasing its value and the overall win potential for the customers.”
Multiplier Stacks, with base games Gathering Tiger and Bats A Plenty, features stacked wilds and multipliers up to 88X. During the free games on Gathering Tiger, every time a tiger symbol lands it locks into place. “Then, the more tigers you get, the bigger the win potential,” Culverson says. On Bats A Plenty, before every free game spin, bats will plummet into the reels from above. “It will randomly pick different reels and just load those reels up with the wild bat symbols,” he says. “It’s a great gambler chase for players.”
Konami will display game lineups for all other sizes of the Dimension cabinet series, including some titles that mix and match between the Dimension 49, 49J and 75C formats.
For Dimension 49, with its flat 49-inch portrait monitor, the company is launching two Asian game families and two innovative proprietary brands.
Ji Ji Gao Sheng, with base titles Prosperity Wishes, Prosperity Phoenix and Prosperity Treasures, features a two-level linked progressive, a jackpot bonus feature, and expanding reels with wild symbols.
“Each game in the family has its own unique feature,” says Culverson, “but the common element between them is the Jackpot Feature. When the player gets into that, they’re awarded 20 picks.
They’ll touch the dragons as they hit the reels and it will build up to those specific progressive prizes. At the same time, every time a fireball lands, it’s awarding a credit prize.”
Each game will have its own unique free-game feature, including expanding reels and expanding wilds, and a hold-and-re-spin bonus.
The other new Asian title is Ru Yi Feng Huang, another game including a hold-and-re-spin bonus feature, as well as expanding reels and multipliers. Base games are Sacred Treasures, Supreme Treasures and Glorious Treasures.
With this game family, in the Jackpot Feature, there are iced-over credit prizes and progressives, and fireballs will drop down from above, landing and melting the ice to reveal the awards. “When a fireball lands on each spot more than once, it pops the icing on it and those credit prizes are awarded. That continues until the player’s out of spins,” Culverson says.
Lucky Honeycomb, with base games Fortune Pots and Fortune Bags, features a three-pot perceived-persistence mechanic, including a pot to trigger a jackpot bonus. The games are clones of the popular Dragon’s Law Fortune Pots and Fortune Bags, both top-25 games on the Eilers-Fantini reports.
Finally, UnWooly Riches, with base games (and game characters) Sugar and Spice, is a cartoon-style game family with play similar to Stuffed Coins, including a pot-collection feature, low volatility, and a double-up bonus.
“After the great success of Stuffed Coins, we refaced it as this more of a cartoony-style game,” Culverson says. “It’s a little less volatile than Stuffed Coins, which we think is going to be really great—frequent features, but it also will have the double-up feature, where it will take the original reels and duplicate them above. So now, you’re playing these both as hold-and-spin-style games. It’s going to be a really great game.”
Bertsch predicts a big hit with this game. “There’s no question UnWooly Riches is probably the best game that I think we’re going to release in the fourth quarter,” he says.
49J + 75C
Konami will highlight two titles at G2E that will be available on either the Dimension 49J or the giant Dimension 75C.
Great Guardians builds on the successful math of All Aboard, with added trigger symbols on the free games. “We’re adding a 60-credit entry bet, in hopes of seeing those features a little bit more frequently,” Culverson says. “It also adds a stand-alone progressive coin. When that coin lands during the primary game, that progressive is automatically awarded to the player.”
Fortune Mint is a three-level progressive game originally launched on the Dimension 49 that will now also be on the 49J and 75C as Fortune Mint Trinity, with new premium packaging and a new game presentation. It features mystery symbols marked by question marks that transform to reveal progressives or multipliers. “When we released it on the Dimension 49, it did extremely well,” says Jingoli. “We’re still placing it at numerous properties. It’s been out for three years and is still performing at well over house average. It’s had some incredible legs.”
Of course, all of Konami’s games will be accompanied at its G2E booth by advances in the systems space, headed by the popular Synkros casino management system. “Synkros is continuing to drive fresh innovation to the casino floor through our award-winning Koinetic employee mobile app, through our highly-in-demand SYNC31 Title 31 product,” says Lazcano, “through a suite of available web-based reporting tools, and through Synkros Progressive Management.”
It’s an added dimension, if you will, to Konami’s product lineup.
“Our focus at G2E will be to present all of that product,” says Bertsch. “We’re at that turning point. We’ve got products working, and our team is going to build upon that.”
Lazcano credits Konami’s longstanding executive team, and the highly developed customer relationships they have forged, for driving the company’s success.
“Konami as an organization has an enduring commitment to our casino customers, which is mainly driven by our highly tenured executive team across the business, who have been with Konami for a long time,” she says. “They have those established relationships and they emphasize the importance of those customer relationships to every team across our organization.
“We feel that’s a competitive advantage for Konami going forward.”