SLOTS WITH AN EDGE
Incredible Technologies continues its winning strategy of creating unique platforms and innovative games
By John Grochowski
There’s no problem with identity at Incredible Technologies. Everyone in the casino industry knows the slotmaker in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, Illinois.
For one thing, it’s the only manufacturer with a yellow logo, as Incredible’s Director of Product Marketing Caitlin Harte pointed out with a laugh. “It’s been hard to shake the stigma of being the ‘new kid’ or the ‘little guy’ in the industry,” Harte said. “We entered the casino gaming market about 10 years ago, and only in the last four years do we truly believe we’ve found our place. It took plenty of trial and error on our part, but luckily our hardware and software designs have always been unique and flexible – which is what caught our operators’ attention in the first place. We’ve now proven with form factors like Infinity Skybox and Infinity V55 that the development behind our products is done with a long-term vision in mind.”
The Infinity Skybox and Infinity V55 are eye-catching game platforms that attract attention all over the slot floor. The Infinity V55 features a huge 4K, vertical 55-inch monitor for ultra-high resolution on the largest core-product cabinet in the slot industry, while the Infinity Skybox starts with an Infinity U23 cabinet with a 23-inch monitor, then adds a vertical 55-inch monitor atop that.
Both are platforms for a variety of Incredible games that attract both players and casino operators.
The V-55 and Skybox loom large in Incredible’s immediate future. Among the games players can anticipate in the coming months are Clinko: King of Bling, Clinko:Winning Wall, Fireworks Festival and Sky Dragons for the V55 and Lady of the Tower for the Skybox.
Getting The Edge
Unifying banks of V-55 games is the Infinity V55 Edge – essentially a 4K video wedge that can bring high-definition motion graphics and casino branded content to spaces between slots or at the ends of banks where casinos have used plain plexiglass barriers and printed inserts.
“Incredible Technologies’ latest games are created with a bigger picture in mind,” said Marketing Coordinator Kelsey Sullivan. “As players grow to expect more and more from their overall casino gaming experience, IT is taking up the charge with their thrilling game content and innovative bank packages. With a strategic shift to develop games within a cohesive banking package, some of IT’s hottest titles are simply better together.”
The Edge is part of what gives the package its cohesion.
“The company’s latest hardware innovation, the Infinity V55 Edge allows for incredible, never-before-seen bank configurations to maximize player comfort while creating a stand-out feature bank,” Sullivan said. “The Edges are 4K monitors which can be placed between games and on the end caps of Infinity V55 banks. The Edges play custom video content with game specific video, attract modes, and even property promotions. With the V55’s huge 4K screen, the Edge monitors create a seamless, 4K video bank with compelling content visible form all angles.
“The newest V55 Edge bank configurations are an unexpected presence on slot floors. With names like the Pinwheel, the Sawtooth, the Flying V and the Diamond, the games look nothing like traditional bank setups and are already making a statement on slot floors. With the Sawtooth in particular, games are angled to either the left or right, with Edge monitors placed between. This setup gives players plenty of personal space, while allowing service members like cocktail waitresses ease of access, without disturbing game play. Since its debut at G2E 2018, the Sawtooth has proven itself as IT’s most popular configuration to date.”
“Games are being researched and developed with compelling game feature families in mind,” said Sullivan. “Some of IT’s most successful titles are Clinko: Winning Wall and Clinko: King of Bling. The two unique themes; a classic casino game show and a nod to Hip Hop, are unified with a dominant game feature: Clinko. With a branded bonus feature spanning over numerous slots, the Edge monitors reiterate the brand and feature with game-specific content to create a cohesive package.”
Clinko: King of Bling and Clinko:Winning Wall both feature the Clinko bonus trigger. A Clinko ball falls from the top of the screen on random spins, drops peg to peg, and if it lands on an icon for a game feature, it could bring pumped-up symbols, added wild symbols or multipliers – all good news for your credit meter.
Clinko: King of Bling
Playing on longtime Incredible favorite, King of Bling really gets rocking in the Pump Up da Club bonus, where players and a DJ can scratch the record for bigger wins. With three progressive-levels, it’s a thrill-packed game.
Clinko: Winning Wall
Winning Wall also has three progressive levels but adds to the intrigue by enabling you to win on the wall. Here, the Clinko pegs include jackpot icons. It takes only one Minor peg to win that pot, while you win the Major by accumulating two and the Grand by accumulating three pegs.
With Sky Dragons and Fireworks Festival, Incredible Technologies adds to the variety of Asian-themed slots that have become so popular in recent years.
Fireworks Festival is a 50-line game that makes explosive use of Incredible’s Stack 2 Stack game dynamic. When two stacks of fireworks symbols touch, they pop, bang and sizzle to reveal instant credit awards. Players may also win up to 20 free spins, and in another feature can win credits in the Red Envelope feature. When Red Envelopes scatter on the reels, players may pick all but one, with a prize behind each. So, if there are five envelopes on the screen, you have four picks to boost your bankroll.
Sky Dragons starts with a typical grid of five reels, each three symbols deep, but when dragons appear in the sky, they can expand the reels, with 5-by-7 as the maxi- mum. All those extra symbols create extra opportunities to win on a game with three progressives and up to 20 free spins.
“As the popularity of Asian inspired themes becomes more and more evident, IT’s Sky Dragons and Fireworks Festival prove to be a must-have in any Eastern- inspired section or even as a stand-alone bank,” Sullivan said. “With the stunning bank merchandising capabilities of the Edge, an Asian-specific bank is proving to be one of the company’s most popular and successful products. The Edge monitors are loaded with Eastern inspired video like Koi Fish, dragons and gongs for a gorgeous player experience from every angle.”
On the Infinity Skybox, Lady of the Tower introduces a new Sky Tower family of games. Lady of the Tower starts as a 30-line game with four progressive levels, but it can be so much more. As you look up the tower monitor, there are four additional sets of reels. When two Tower Spin scatter on the main reels, they unlock a random number of reel sets – you could get one extra set, all four, or something in between. When all sets are un- locked, you could have 150 paylines working.
“Free spins hold multipliers and keys to unlock reelsets above, while the bonus grants players the chance to win more than one progressive jackpot in a single bonus round,” Sullivan said. “Initial performance indicates Lady of the Tower is a hit with players and IT plans to follow up the success with a second Sky Tower game.”
Creativity has always been part of Incredible Technologies’ ethos. Before it introduced itself and its fresh take on slots to the gaming industry at Global Gaming Expo 2009, it was established as a leader in the amusements industry. It’s Golden Tee Golf, which started in pubs and restaurants and went on to become an online favorite, is the most successful amusements game of all time.
But taking that creativity to the casino space required some adjustment.
“When we first entered the market, our games had a touch of novelty to them to make them stand out in the crowded space,” Harte said. “We had reels that went sideways and selectable volatility and a little game with odd angled lines called Crazy Money. Crazy Money has since gone on to be IT’s most successful brand! We know the talent we have that thinks of and creates those novelties is what makes IT special. Over the years we’ve focused much of our efforts into creating great math experiences behind our games by creating proprietary tools and studying player behavior. We don’t spend our energy trying to recreate other manufacturer’s successes; you won’t see a catalog full of copycat products from us. Our focus was and always is to be one step ahead in innovation.”
Now that everyone knows who IT is, doors open a little faster.
“It’s become easier [to market IT products] in that more customers and players now recognize our brand and logo,” Harte said. “Luckily, it’s the only yellow one! We’ve officially broken out of the ‘little guy’ category. We’ve proven over time that our products can perform well for our operators and players enjoy their experiences on our games. It’s exciting for our game development teams to see they have fans on YouTube uploading videos of their wins!
“On the other hand, it’s also become much harder because the landscape in general is increasingly competitive. There are new manufacturers with new technologies constantly entering the market. That is why our strategy of being one step ahead in innovation is crucial for our success – we can’t dwell on what anyone else is doing. We’re still that scrappy upstart at heart.”
And with that much accomplished,
IT can focus on expansion. “Our focus over the last two years has been expanding our presence and footprint throughout North America. We’ve recently placed games through- out Mexico as well as in several Canadian provinces. Our focus is on creating high performing, fun, unique game content and building long-lasting internal game family brands like Crazy Money. Our booth at G2E in October will be filled to the brim with ‘new’– but for now that’s top-secret information.”
The growth brings challenges of its own.
Harte is both excited and confident IT can meet those challenges.
“As a company we obviously feel the rapid growth we’re experiencing with the addition of a new Las Vegas office, a record number of employees, and our ever-expanding footprint in North America,” Harte said.
“But we also use industry reports as a bench- mark of our progress, and it’s extremely validating to see our name up there competing right alongside our biggest competitors. We’ve shown that we’re here to stay.”