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Hundreds of gaming device manufacturers from around the world converged on Las Vegas last week to unveil their new product lines at the annual Global Gaming Expo in that city's giant convention center.
Displaying their wares in spaces ranging in size from a small booth to floor space equivalent to huge banquet halls, the companies make every effort to attract the attention of gaming industry executives in the hope they'll make purchases for the casinos they own and operate.
Traditionally, WMS Gaming makes a significant impact on Expo attendees with innovative technology that continually raises the bar on how people play slot machines.
They did it a couple of years ago with Star Trek, the debut of the company's patented Adaptive Gaming format in which players (using a log-in component) unlock new features as they play, save their progress, and then are able to pick up where they left off at another machine, even in a different casino.
The next generation of the technology has been applied to Lord of the Rings, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy which was made into three popular and highly acclaimed motion pictures 2001 through 2003.
"Lord of the Rings is a great license, and one that has tested phenomenally in regard to familiarity and likeability with players," said Rob Bone, vice president of marketing for WMS.
Whereas Star Trek is episodic gaming in which players collect medals that allow them to unlock new episodes, Lord of the Rings introduces what the company is calling epic gaming.
"It's a constant story, but instead of earning medals you earn miles," Bone said. "Those miles get you to destinations where you unlock bonuses. The journey and the story remain very consistent; we're just putting the player in a more epic kind of ride as they go along as opposed to the new episodes which are unlocked in Star Trek."
Just as with the Star Trek format, Lord of the Rings has a video monitor display depicting scenes from the motion pictures as you progress and earn miles.
"We're showing more integrated movie clips (from Lord of the Rings) than we've ever shown in any game," Bone said. "It's the goal of any license to stay true to the movie, the art assets, and the overall theme. I can't imagine us doing a better job with the movie and streaming video."
"This game is going to be a huge hit," he predicted. "It has so many features in it I can't even begin to go over them."
Lord of the Rings, which is expected to begin popping up on casino floors around the country in May or June of 2010, will feature a Bose sound player's chair which incorporates the elements of Sensory Immersion gaming first introduced by WMS with its Top Gun themed slots.
"It is the start of integrating the technologies we have developed into future generations of our products," Bone added.
What would happen if you packaged WMS Gaming's Sensory Immersion, Transmissive Reels, and Community Gaming experiences all in one machine? The exciting answer will be the topic of next week's column!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
John G. Brokopp