Focus on AGS: Aiming for top-tier status, AGS readies more new games, cabinets for 2024

October 24, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
October 24, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

After ovations for its G2E booth with a rock concert theme and star-studded lineup of new games and cabinets, AGS is launching its encore: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.

“There’s no shortage of more new products coming, and, obviously, a ton of new games that will be supporting all of those products,” said Mark DeDeaux, senior vice president and general manager of slots. All are part of a plan that began more than three years ago with a goal of powering AGS to a role as a top-tier supplier in the gaming industry.

At G2E, the company unveiled the Spectra 49 upright cabinet, a for-sale model with a 49-inch curved monitor; new versions of the popular Rakin’ Bacon slot line; a high-denom Straight Cash game that looks like a traditional three-reel stepper; and the Spectra 43 Premium cabinet with specialized lighting and a billboard-style digital display. In a post-G2E interview, DeDeaux cited numerous additional upgrades AGS will debut in the coming year, including:

  • The company’s first mechanical stepper machine, aimed at high-denom players.
  • A premium cabinet with a 75-inch screen that will be available for lease or purchase.
  • A new Spectra premium cabinet with a 49-inch slant screen.

DeDeaux said the stepper slot developed from a game design studio that AGS began about two years ago. The team had designed some of the industry’s top-performing mechanical reel games, and AGS applied their skills for online digital and some three-reel high-denom video slots. “Now we can leverage their capabilities to design three-reel mechanical reel slots as well,” he said.

The Spectra 75, as the giant cabinet will be known, will feature games curated specifically for the “elegant, very large form-factor slot machine.” DeDeaux said the sale-or-lease option will set it apart from other supersized cabinets. “It’s a great value add for casino operators to have that option,” he continued. “We’re trying to align our strategy with how we can best support operators and what they’re trying to do on their floors.”

The new 49-inch slant screen will be in the Spectra family and feature enhanced design elements. “We’re implementing additional lighting treatments with an integrated topper, which will make the cabinet seem a bit taller,” he said. “All of this will create what will be the Cadillac of our Spectra family.”

DeDeaux said the company’s grand plan began with game design, expanding the number of studios from three to seven, adding designers, and outlining which additional player segments to target.

“We built (game design) as the foundation and then added the cabinets that we thought would best position the games in the marketplace,” he explained.

Evolving into a top-tier supplier requires a library of games that can fit in all areas of a casino – not just high-limit rooms or main floor but also nuanced areas such as sections with bigger, taller games and those with standard-size games.

In the coming year, a new version of Rakin’ Bacon will include a game play mechanic designed to attract a broader segment of users. Historically, all Rakin’ Bacon titles – including Odyssey and Sahara introduced this month at G2E – have focused on free-spin awards. “We believe many players like both the free-spin style of game and cash-on-reels,” he said.  “We also believe some cash-on-reel players maybe have never tried Rakin’ Bacon. So, we’ll be adding bonus elements next year to extend the brand. That’s something we’re really excited about.”

For land-based operations, AGS aims to be a top provider in all three major segments: Class 2, Class 3, and HHR.  The company also has lofty goals with its online games.

“We’ve invested in bringing new talent into that business as well,” he said. “AGS is looking to excel in all areas for casino operators. It’s key that we execute on delivering core casino games into the digital side of our business and then also on designing online-specific games. Growing and building and expanding our digital business is very much in parallel with our overall strategy.”

“We’re just focused on executing and climbing that ladder and sitting at the top,” DeDeaux added. “That’s what success looks like for us.”