You are in:
Rickin Chavez Munoz meets IGT’s Craig Churchill, a man visualizing nirvana for IGT Cloud operators…
International Game technology (IGT) is positioned as the global leader in the gaming industry supplying gaming machines and systems products that have gone from the design, development and manufacturing stages to gaming floors the world over. Well, this is old hat, but recently, the company is also leading on technology in online and mobile gaming solutions for the regulated markets.
As a leading supplier of gaming products to the world, IGT maintains a wide array of entertainment-inspired gaming product lines and target gaming markets in all legal jurisdictions worldwide fully committed to providing quality gaming products at competitive prices, designed to help the operator realize superior value and performance by serving players better.
Latest in this mission of support to both operator and player is the IGT Cloud Partner Program, which had a first install at the Leo Gala Casino in Liverpool, England, last month. We met with Craig Churchill, IGT Senior VP of International Sales, during London’s ICE 2012 event, where the IGT booth was teeming with visitors.
Casino International: It’s so busy today that it looks like everyone knows that IGT had been awarded the International Gaming Awards “Best Slot Manufacturer of the Year”. It seems that another great year is ahead for IGT.
Craig Churchill: “Yes, it certainly has been a very busy show for us and I agree with you, we have a lot to be grateful for and I really believe a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. Being named Best Slot Manufacturer of the year is always such a compliment and it’s an accolade that we really appreciate at IGT as it’s a culmination of a lot of hard work from the entire company. As they say, it takes a village!
For me personally, it’s also evidence that strategy for the International markets is working - whether it’s leveraging our scale to operate better as a global partner, developing world-class market attuned games that resonate with local players or getting new and exciting technologies like Cloud adding tremendous value for our customers operations”.
CI: The award, though, must be that all IGT’s efforts on R&D investment are bearing fruit. If I well remember, it must be one of the largest budgets in the industry with investment exceeding US $200 million in 2010 on hardware, software, and firmware engineering, for game design, video, multimedia, graphics, and sound. How is this shaping up for 2012?
Craig Churchill: “IGT’s ongoing commitment to research and development has driven innovation in the industry time and again and I’m proud to be part of a company that has this type of ongoing focus. As you say, these types of R&D budgets are far and few between in this industry and that’s why we spend a great deal of time listening to our customers and future gazing across the industry in order to optimize our investments for all stakeholders. One example of this type of relentless focus is around market attuned content. This year, we premiered our localized, market-attuned games that are designed to appeal to global audiences while being tailored for specific regional cultures. This was done by investing in market research across several regions around the globe. By focusing on game play and themes that resonate with local players, we have developed exclusive Asian-themed titles such as Pearl Dragon and Eastern Gems for the Asian player. IGT’s new video slot themes Carnaval Riches, Dia de Muertos™ and Huevocartoon® cater to the Latin American players. We will be doing further market research in more countries and regions as we move forward with this concept. In addition, we are showcasing a full catalogue of pop culture games that reflect the strong relationships we maintain with major, international licensors. This allows us to roll out blockbuster games such as The Hangover, Ghostbusters, Sex and the City Fabulous, Elvis the King and many more exceptional titles”.
CI: Of course, right now, the IGT Cloud Partner Program seems to be one of the most exciting products to innovate the gaming floor to give operators new opportunities to connect with their players and capitalize solution services for the future. Apart from the groups that have signed in for the programme, are there any new additions after this year’s ICE?
Craig Churchill: “Interest in IGT Cloud and the IGT Cloud partnership program is ‘white hot’, and momentum continues to build every day. The fun part of this is watching word spread across the industry as participating operators go live and begin to see some of the tremendous possibilities unfold before their eyes in the early stages of testing. In my opinion, having already witnessed the success of this in the technology sector, with services from companies such as Salesforce.com and Amazon, this is the beginning of a new type of ‘en-mass’ operational service that has the potential to radically benefit all types of casinos. Once again this is evidence of IGT’s R&D budget in action.
“As it relates to some of the specific benefits of IGT Cloud, this solution gets to the heart of the conundrum of how to streamline floor operations in its many forms without increasing total cost of ownership (TCO) of the technology and management ecosystem that surrounds it; that’s nirvana right? Well in fact, we are really looking at going way beyond this in the future to answer the question of how to, ultimately, reduce the TCO for some of the basic floor management services and give customers the option to layer additional value-added services on top so they can begin to experiment in ways they never thought possible in the past. By making this solution as ‘appliance-like’ as we can make it, my prediction is that floor management and even casino management of the future will become part of a basic dependable fabric, much like the dial-tone of a phone is today, thus freeing the casinos up to focus on what they do best, world-class customer service and patron hospitality.
“The other great thing about the IGT Cloud is that it complements our casino management systems solutions today and in the future, which continue to deliver compelling casino floors and entertaining player experiences”.