Mark McGuinness Gaming Manager at Bandai Namco has described the combination of ‘cabinet, content and commitment to the customer’ as being the foundation stones of the productive and progressive relationship the entertainment brand enjoys with Blueprint Operations.
Highlighting Blueprint’s Ultramax as a product that Bandai Namco has enjoyed ‘great success’ with McGuinness explained: “When you start analysing why a particular model stands-out from the crowd you actually end-up with a list of attributes and features – it’s not just one or two things.”
Using the Ultramax as a case in point he noted: “The cabinet size means that it works well in venues with lower ceilings, the menu format is clean, clear and intuitive and the ability for players to access games which they know from time spent playing online is a massive plus. The phone-charging facility on the machine is a nice touch and one which has proved really popular. You get the impression that the Blueprint designers view machine playing as an experience which goes beyond the jackpot and it’s that type of attention to detail which is really important. Machine players particularly those in the 20-30-year old demographic demand a lot more from their machine spend and if they don’t get it they move on – it’s as simple as that.”
Uptime has always been key and Blueprint’s investment in keeping machines operational and generating income for their customers is recognised. “The immediate point to make is that the Ultramax is very ‘engineer friendly’ offering great access and serviceability” stated Mark. “However, where I think Blueprint is really leading the way and setting new standards is with their App. Engineers work long hours and having access to the information required to repair a machine outside of the conventional working day is incredibly valuable to them as individuals as well as to our business. The App which is essentially a Help Desk in your pocket is a statement initiative which I know is highly valued not just by us but by operators in general.”
Mark McGuinness is clear that advances and trends in home electronics are influencing developments in out-of-home entertainment. He argued: “Customers are accustomed to having high-definition large screens at home so it’s not surprising that they look for the same quality experience when they are out. Sounds are also very important and often overlooked by venues. Many games now have identifiable audio such as a theme tune which players recognise and they need to be delivered in a quality format. Players also want the ability to adjust the volume setting to a level that they enjoy. Contemporary AGCs and FECs invest heavily on their interiors. We are talking about contemporary retailing so the product needs to enhance and complement the venue which means sleek high quality cabinets, outstanding content and high definition edge-to-edge graphics.”
With both the supply side and operators continuing to raise the investment bar does BNAE’s Gaming Manager believe the contributions made by the industry are recognized by local and national government? “The simple answer to that is no” he stated. “We need to keep pushing and highlighting the contributions we make to the high street and to resort economies, the number of businesses that we support through the supply chain, the jobs we create and the taxes we pay. Bacta is doing a great job in engaging with stakeholders but there’s a lot more that the industry needs to do not least in terms of communicating with constituency MPs and local Councillors.”