A redesign of International Game Technology’s longstanding corporate logo is more than just giving the decades-old icon a contemporary appearance.
It’s about changing the way the industry views the slot machine giant at a time when gaming equipment has moved beyond the casino floors and into the interactive realm. Also, increased competition from longtime rivals and new manufacturers has sliced into IGT’s annual profits.
IGT officials hope a new image translates into sales.
“This is so much more than a logo change,” said IGT Chief Executive Officer Patti Hart. “Our brand’s next chapter is built upon what has made us great.”
IGT’s expansive Global Gaming Expo showroom figures to be one of the most visited booths at the Sands Expo and Convention Center starting today when the gaming industry launches its annual tradeshow and conference.
More than 455 companies will display the newest games, gaming equipment, casino management systems and other products. The show, which is closed to the public, runs through Thursday.
G2E is a primary reason IGT announced its corporate makeover Monday.
IGT, which has corporate headquarters in Las Vegas and Reno, has been the leading provider of slot machines to casinos worldwide for decades. But the competition has grown.
Lately, Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies’ has earned most of the accolades from casino slot floor managers and analysts have praised the company’s pending $1.3 billion acquisition of rival SHFL entertainment.
WMS Industries will have a rejuvenated outlook after its $1.5 billion purchase by lottery provider Scientific Games is finalized.
Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon said in a pre-G2E research report that smaller gaming equipment suppliers, such as MultiMedia Games, Spielo and Ainsworth Technologies, have cut into the sales figures of the major slot machine manufacturers.
“Larger suppliers are readily looking to execute strategies to defend market share,” Beynon said. “That being said, we do think it will be difficult for the smaller suppliers to significantly grow market share beyond current levels.”
IGT plans to unveil highly anticipated new slot machines based on movie titles “Avatar,” “Back to the Future,” “Bridesmaids” and “Jurassic Park” at G2E.
But with the company’s industry-leading move into social gaming, through the much-debated $500 million purchase of DoubleDown Casino some 21 months ago, IGT wanted to present an image and new brand identity reflective of a convergence among gaming, entertainment and technology.
“Strong brands do matter, both to customers and decision makers,” said IGT Vice President of Corporate Communications Susan Cartwright.
The company’s I, G, and T in the logo are now lowercase in a modern font with a multi-hued blue background.
“What this change tells a customer is that you can’t look at IGT in the same way as you have in the past,” Cartwright said.
IGT has also been added to the DoubleDown Casino logo, which is used on the social game’s website and its landing page on Facebook. The logo might be an attention grabber, but IGT officials know the games must make an impression at G2E.
Bally Technologies, in addition to an update of its “Michael Jackson: King of Pop” game, has new machines based on the “Magic of David Copperfield,” Texas rockers “ZZ Top,” and the Academy Award-winning film “Titanic.”
Not to be outdone, Australian slot machine developer Aristocrat Technologies will unveil games using the movie “Flashdance,” the AMC television series “The Walking Dead,” and the TV “Batman” of the 1960s. As an added bonus, Aristocrat plans to have Adam West, the original “Batman,” and his Batmobile in the company’s G2E showroom.
WMS will display slot machines based on the “Iron Man” film series, as well as the classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
IGT has had success in the past year selling games into government-run video lottery markets, including Canada, Illinois and Oregon. Manufacturers have been waiting for new markets to come on line that would grow the current base of roughly 900,000 North American slot machines.
Union Gaming Group, in a pre-G2E report to investors, predicted at least 10 new casino openings or expansions in the U.S. coming on line in 2014, could provide slot machine manufactures with opportunities to sell more than 11,000 games.
“The outlook for product sales and gaming operations will remain challenging,” said Union Gaming Managing Director Bill Lerner. “We think gaming operations yields will continue to be impacted by weak domestic gross gaming revenue growth.”
Lerner said G2E remains an “important event” for the gaming equipment manufacturing sector, although some casino companies know which slot machines they want to buy before the show.
“Most of the major operators meet with equipment companies the week preceding the event and away from the hustle and bustle of the showroom floor,” Lerner said.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.