Astra reflects on early progress with £100 upgrade to Cat C
Andy Dinning, Astra Games’ Design Director, takes part in a Q&A session to gauge his thoughts on the way that Category C is shaping up with the new £100 payout.
Q: Three months since the new legislation came into play, how would you assess the impact of the new £100 prize for Cat C machines? Do you feel the sector will only continue to improve throughout the course of the year?
A: It's all down to the games really. £100 has presented a much needed boost for all sectors and Astra Games is benefitting from some very encouraging figures which, in turn, signifies growth within the player base. The pub sector has a real appetite for Astra video product in the form of iPub and it's fair to say we are the market leader in the digital sector. So when you have the passion for games and the creative solutions with an acceptable jackpot level it does stand to reason that growth will be achieved.
Q: How have the changes in jackpot impacted the design of the machines?
A: Astra has designed games that embrace the new jackpot. Examples are 100-1, Ton-up, and Totally Bonkers, each of which has been designed with the objective of appealing to the player whilst delivering a great gaming experience. I chair a creative think tank involving each of the Astra Gaming Group of companies that allows collaboration between all of our design teams and encourages cross pollination of ideas. This joined up thinking and the positive influence it brings to bear on game design was immediately evident in the group’s product line-up at this year’s ICE Totally Gaming. I believe that the creative solutions offered by Novomatic, Astra, Bell Fruit, and Empire all add to a better offering and that has to be seen as a big step forward for the business. Put simply, there is no other company able to deliver that in the UK.
Q: What kind of operators do you expect the new Type 2 classification - known as 'Category C Lite' - to appeal to and why?
A: I see great opportunities with Cat C Lite and the appeal is widespread. Currently we have demand for reel base in the arcade and bingo sectors and massive demand for video across our customer base. We have taken advanced orders in the pub sector and with the co-operation of our sister company Gamestec we see steady and sustainable demand. Astra views Cat C Lite as an appealing alternative to SWP and a very attractive proposition to bring back a more active profile for the players. In short Astra applauds any opportunity to deliver great games and plans many game pack releases to accommodate demand.