TTH Gaming in ICE London 2019
At ICE London fair of the 5th to the 7th of February 2019, we found some novelties and many friends and acquaintances.
Firstly: the unstoppable online tendency, for some years now, affects the fair when it comes to the number and size of the stalls. We could say that from 75% to 80% of the fair was occupied by companies related to online gaming. Most of these companies are linked to sports betting, both the sale of physical terminals and betting management web services.
Secondly, the great gaming aggregators -as Microgaming, Playthech and others not so well-known would be- also had big spaces and presented a lot of novelties.
Thirdly, stalls related to transaction security. And finally, payment solutions.
These would be the 4 big chapters of companies with an online presence. Although, obviously, there were others related to bingo, such as Evolution of online casinos.
The other 20% were stalls owned by companies and providers that are usually in fairs, as land-based or on-site casinos would be. In other words, from brands such as IGT, which we have to remember is the merge of IGT, Gtech and Spielo; as well as Scientific Games, which is the result of the Shufflemaster, Bally and Williams merge; as well as Aristocrat, etc. Nonetheless, the biggest spaces, in this case, were three European companies: Novomatic from Austria, EGT from Bulgaria and Merkur from Germany. There were, obviously, a lot more international companies, and mostly European, but these last six were perhaps the ones that stood out the most, for their size and, aside, their relevance.
My personal opinion, aside from the novelties presented by IGT, Scientific Games and Novomatis, is that the one that keeps shining for its innovation is Aristocrat. Aristocrat keeps presenting their progressive Lighting Link, which, in the last years, has been copied by all the other manufacturers that have called it different names such as Easy Link, Storm Link, Thunder Link, Lock it Link, etc. Moreover, Aristocrat presented evolutions or novelties based on their games, and also royalties games based in famous HBO TV series such as Game of Thrones or Westworld. The novelty, in this case, resides in the new S-shaped gambling cabinet Flame.
Novomatic also presented some interesting novelties, but at the technological level, it seemed to follow the screen format that Aristocrat popularized, the one named arch, with big 70-inch to the 84-inch curved screen.
As stated before, this year, Aristocrat went a bit further, and instead of using the curved screen, they used S-shaped screens, a unique screen that you can fold creating the effect that the upper part of the screen falls over the player and the main game falls in the lower part, making it even easier for the player that is sitting to see the whole game. Without any doubt, a fine piece of machinery. They call it Flame.
The skill games manufacturers, in contrast with the Las Vegas G2E Fair, in London they passed unnoticed. The only stall we could find, although there were perhaps some others, was the Blue Synergy one, which attracted a lot of attention and interest. But brands such as Gablit and GameCo were missed.
Out of the four known brands that we could find at G2E, in London we only saw the Blue Synergy one. So it is worth highlighting the fact that there is a developing niche that still has to mature to arrive at its inflection point.
In conclusion, and even though it is not our intention to compare both fairs, in London, there was way more offer of companies related to online gaming and of European companies. While at G2E, traditional slots manufacturers are still dominant, as well as furniture and equipment manufacturers. Furthermore, both American and Australian or Japanese companies presented more novelties.
The next ICE London will be hosted at Excel, London, UK (United Kingdom), from the 4th to the 6t of February of 2020. But, before that, we have the Global Gaming Expo G2E fair in Las Vegas (USA) from 15th to 17th of October 2019. Should we see you there?