Playmeter December 2012 : Page - 55

COVER STORY success This international company covers all the bases as it strives to be an entertainment one stop shop. LAI Games builds on M ention the games Stacker and Lighthouse and everyone knows they are high-perform-ing titles from LAI Games and among the biggest hits in the redemption game arena. LAI Games is a division of Leisure and Allied Industries (LAI), a 54-year-old company founded by Malcolm Steinberg in Australia in 1958. LAI operates Timezone entertainment cen-ters around the globe and developed into an amusement equipment manu-facturer. LAI is also the parent company of Embed, a fully integrated debit card and redemption management system with an international presence. LAI Games established a U.S. office in Dallas in 2006 and has been pro-viding memorable titles ever since. The original Stacker game proved so suc-cessful, it spawned numerous sequels such as Mini Stacker, Mega Stacker, and Stacker Wall Street. Recent titles to also make an impact include Speed of Light, a large foot-print redemption game that has a loyal player following; Little Masterpiece, a children’s coloring game; and the Snap-shot Photo Booth. The fact that the parent company has been operating games for half a century-plus adds a unique perspective to LAI Games. Play Meter spoke with officials at LAI Games to find out more about the company’s success and what’s coming down the pike. 55 Is there a philosophy behind the successful game designs from LAI Games? Our game developers strive to pro-duce games that are innovative and interesting to players. With hundreds of games to choose from, especially in the larger locations, there must be something unique to get their attention and make them want to play. Our new products for 2013 were designed with this in mind. They all have an added dimension that sets them apart from the crowd. For exam-ple, Mega Spin adds a new twist to typ-ical redemption wheel games. It’s actually three wheels in one, and players can move to progressively high-er levels and try to increase their win-nings or to win a ticket jackpot. Mega Spin also has a cool, futuristic look that attracts attention. Are players more sophisticated and demanding today in terms of game play and the types of prizes they will play for? Absolutely. Today’s sophisticated players expect top-notch prizes in mer-chandising games. But it’s not just about the prizes. You’ve also got to offer players a unique experience. We have just completed a test of our newest merchandiser, Balloon Buster. Although it had the same prizes as some other games, it out-earned its competitors. When the prizes are equal, players will choose based on entertainment value. DECEMBER 2012 PLAY METER

LAI Games builds on Success

Mention the games Stacker and Lighthouse and everyone knows they are high-performing titles from LAI Games and among the biggest hits in the redemption game arena.<br /> <br /> LAI Games is a division of Leisure and Allied Industries (LAI), a 54-yearold company founded by Malcolm Steinberg in Australia in 1958. LAI operates Timezone entertainment centers around the globe and developed into an amusement equipment manufacturer.<br /> <br /> LAI is also the parent company of Embed, a fully integrated debit card and redemption management system with an international presence.<br /> <br /> LAI Games established a U.S. office in Dallas in 2006 and has been providing memorable titles ever since. The original Stacker game proved so successful, it spawned numerous sequels such as Mini Stacker, Mega Stacker, and Stacker Wall Street.<br /> <br /> Recent titles to also make an impact include Speed of Light, a large footprint redemption game that has a loyal player following; Little Masterpiece, a children’s coloring game; and the Snapshot Photo Booth.<br /> <br /> The fact that the parent company has been operating games for half a century-plus adds a unique perspective to LAI Games. Play Meter spoke with officials at LAI Games to find out more about the company’s success and what’s coming down the pike.<br /> <br /> Is there a philosophy behind the successful game designs from LAI Games?<br /> Our game developers strive to produce games that are innovative and interesting to players. With hundreds of games to choose from, especially in the larger locations, there must be something unique to get their attention and make them want to play.<br /> <br /> Our new products for 2013 were designed with this in mind. They all have an added dimension that sets them apart from the crowd. For example, Mega Spin adds a new twist to typical redemption wheel games.<br /> <br /> It’s actually three wheels in one, and players can move to progressively higher levels and try to increase their winnings or to win a ticket jackpot. Mega Spin also has a cool, futuristic look that attracts attention.<br /> <br /> Are players more sophisticated and demanding today in terms of game play and the types of prizes they will play for?<br /> Absolutely. Today’s sophisticated players expect top-notch prizes in merchandising games. But it’s not just about the prizes. You’ve also got to offer players a unique experience.<br /> <br /> We have just completed a test of our newest merchandiser, Balloon Buster. Although it had the same prizes as some other games, it out-earned its competitors. When the prizes are equal, players will choose based on entertainment value.<br /> <br /> The same holds true with redemption games. So many games vend tickets these days that there must be something compelling in order for a player to choose a certain game.<br /> <br /> We’ve seen great success with our Speed of Light game because there are no other games like it on the market. Many games test hand-eye coordination but Speed of Light requires full body participation.<br /> <br /> The game has inspired a following online, and players post videos of their plays every day on YouTube. They comment on each other’s videos, give tips on how to play, and post their scores.<br /> <br /> Dave & Buster’s has recognized the potential of the game and have worked closely with our developers to create a system that will allow them to have Speed of Light player promotions and to run nationwide tournaments.<br /> <br /> The game was featured in D&B’s Games of Summer promotion and television commercials. Recently the Houston Texans NFL team had a Speed of Light challenge for charity at a local D&B’s, with proceeds benefitting the Greater Houston Boys and Girls Clubs.<br /> <br /> How important are trade shows for LAI Games? What kinds of comments are you getting from opera-tors at recent shows?<br /> Trade shows are extremely important to us. It’s the best chance we have to showcase our games to a large number of customers. Something we hear a lot from operators is how glad they are that companies like LAI Games are coming out with brand new titles. That’s why they go to the shows— to find great new games for their arcades—not to see the same titles repackaged every year.<br /> <br /> How many trade events will LAI Games participate in during 2013?<br /> We will attend at least six major shows next year, plus a number of regional shows worldwide.<br /> <br /> There is a definite increase in the number of trade shows in Asia. Do you see growth potential in the Pacific Rim and/or any other areas?<br /> Asia is a key market for LAI Games and the growth potential is huge. The market is very price focused with the tendency for many operators to source low cost games from China. But this is changing as we are seeing many new high quality family entertainment center (FEC) developments in upmarket mall and leisure locations.<br /> <br /> These new developments are seeking the very best and innovative high earning games and are prepared to make a greater initial investment in games.<br /> <br /> This trend will continue as we see the continued growth in population, disposable income, and the resultant increase in leisure/shopping developments in many of the developing economies of Asia.<br /> <br /> Our sister company—Timezone—is well placed in the Asia market with over 230 FECs in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.<br /> <br /> Timezone is the leading player in this market and has always striven to provide the best in game entertainment. LAI Games of course supplies games to Timezone but we are also starting to see increased game demand from other operators wishing to emulate the success of Timezone.<br /> <br /> LAI Games consistently brings new products to every trade event. What are the latest titles from the R&D team?<br /> In addition to Mega Spin, which was mentioned earlier, we have developed a children’s version of Speed of Light called Little Speedy. We found that some smaller kids had trouble reaching the top row of buttons, and operators told us they’d like to see a pint-sized version.<br /> <br /> The full production model of Balloon Buster is another great design by our developers. The game looks great and gives the illusion that prizes are suspended by balloons that players try to pop.<br /> <br /> In reality, the prizes are held by small prize arms that release when sensors detect a winning play. This design protects the prizes from dropping for other reasons, such as a laser popping the balloon or a leaky balloon.<br /> <br /> We also have a new, premium crane called Toy Zone. The beautiful cabinet has plush creatures all over and LED lights that do a great job of capturing players’ attention.<br /> <br /> The new Ghost Town is an impressive, four-player shooting game with a graveyard theme. Rolly Rolly is a quick redemption game where players try to make a ball roll into holes with different point values to win tickets.<br /> <br /> How large is the R&D team?<br /> We have a team of 20 people, including designers, artists, programmers, technicians, and mechanical and electrical engineers. However, many people in the company contribute to the R&D process, from factory workers to the CEO. Even friends and family pitch ideas and give feedback on games and concepts.<br /> <br /> What are some of your most popular games currently available?<br /> Speed of Light is currently our most popular game. It can be found in every Dave & Buster’s, Main Event, and John’s Incredible Pizza in the country.<br /> <br /> It was recently rated as the #1 game at DisneyQuest, the five-story arcade at Walt Disney World Resort. The game is a winner because people can’t play anything like it at home; they have to go to an arcade.<br /> <br /> Mega Stacker is a phenomenal money maker, and a must-have for larger game rooms. These can also be found in the larger FEC chains. We also have a new all-tickets version, Mega Stacker Lite.<br /> <br /> For places with younger players, Little Masterpiece and Willie Wheels, a children’s driving game, are very popular for FECs and pizza chains, and are also in every John’s Incredible Pizza. The Snapshot photo booth is a hit with FECs as well as party rental companies.<br /> <br /> LAI Games has stepped up to the plate with games for young players, such as Chuckles the Clown, Little Masterpiece, and Willie Wheels. Tell us about your newest games for young players.<br /> In addition to Little Speedy, we have three new ball toss redemption games: Pirate Battle, Choo Choo Train, and Princess Castle. Each one has a cabinet, music, and voice callouts that match its respective theme.<br /> <br /> Princess Castle was created just for girls, with a pink and purple cabinet the looks like a fairytale castle. All three games make a stunning presentation when banked together.<br /> <br /> We also have Rainy Days, a water game that doesn’t require plumbing. Kids have to catch water from thunderclouds into a bucket to earn points and tickets. The Rolly Rolly game is designed to appeal to all ages, including youngsters.<br /> <br /> Is LAI Games considering adding any new types of products to its portfolio?<br /> Yes, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in November we displayed a new state-of-the-art locker system. It is all electronic and will be sold on a revenue-share model. It’s a great solution for water and theme parks who want an electronic system that will save them and their guests time and effort.<br /> <br /> LAI Games is always looking for opportunities to diversify into new product areas. We are a forward looking company aiming to grow our business.<br /> <br /> Another example of diversification was our recent completion of a major driving simulator contract for the Indonesian Police Force. This $3.4 million contract will enable the police to provide driver safety training to new drivers throughout Indonesia.<br /> <br /> Where would LAI Games like to be five years from now?<br /> We want to continue to be known as a company that produces excellent, high-earning games that enhance the success of our entire industry. We want to keep pushing the envelope and to be the company to look to for innovation and quality.<br /> <br /> Our aim is to provide a wide portfolio of games and other products for the leisure and amusement industry so that we become a “one stop shop” for our many customers.<br /> <br /> For more information on LAI Games, call (888)211-6370; Web (www.LAIGames.com).

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