Think back. Way back. To the days of the old Apple computers (some of you may not have been born yet so ask your parents). Remember how you couldn’t use Microsoft products, like Excel or Word, on your Apple computer? It could be frustrating for people who were used to those Microsoft products but preferred the Apple system. They wanted the ability to mix and match and have a system that worked best for them. Eventually, Apple changed all that and now we can use pretty much whatever we want on an Apple computer. So what does this have to do with the gaming industry? Well, for decades, the industry has functioned much like Apple did – resistant to change and wanting to be the only player in the sandbox. But at Acres, we’re changing that. We’re always on the lookout for new partners, creative technologies, and ways to make gaming work better for the casinos and their customers. And we know it will benefit the industry and customers. To use the Apple example again, in 2000, they were valued at less than $5 billion – today it’s almost $2.5 trillion. Much of that explosive growth is due to embracing collaboration and third-party partners – everything we’re aiming to do.
For the most part, today’s gaming hardware was made back in the 90s. We’d be hard pressed to think of other industries that are using 30 year-old technology in 2021. Most industries have sought out new ways to innovate to not only stay competitive, but to meet customer expectations. But unfortunately, the gaming industry hasn’t had to stay competitive due to a few big players controlling the ecosystem, as well as being a highly regulated industry that stops more companies from joining in. The industry has operated under a system where a handful control access to gaming hardware data and charge casinos to use it. This is critical data for casinos to better understand how their customers play as well as stay ahead of any technical problems. So really, the casinos are caught between a rock and a hard place. They need the data so they have to acquiesce and pay for access. But they have no control or say in getting that data. But we don’t think it has to be this way. We’re long overdue for new ideas and technology in gaming so we’re finding ways to open up this space.
Since 1972, the Acres name has been synonymous with groundbreaking casino technology. In 1981, my dad started his first business, Electronic Data Technologies, which created a system that allowed casinos to track slot machine players by using loyalty cards, offering gamblers rewards based on how much they played. From there, we’ve been leading the way in the evolution of new technology for the casino industry. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. Along the way we’ve been met with resistance and closed doors. One of our previous apps, Kai, was deployed to dozens of casinos and was doing a great job of helping them detect service events. However, the more success we had with Kai, the harder the big guys made it for us to interface with the casino systems. Understandably, this scared off some casinos from using Kai. But that’s the nature of change. Humans are typically afraid of change and want to maintain the status quo – even if it’s not serving them. So we kept thinking and creating to make gaming technology work for the casinos. With our latest technology, Foundation, casinos get real-time data from every slot machine to a transaction engine that can interface with any other data source, allowing a new dynamic between real-world and in-game events. An adaptable credit meter empowers casinos to change the player experience by changing the credit meter balance on any game, for any reason, at any time. We’ve cut out the middleman and put the control back in the hands of the casinos. We think this is where the industry is headed. And we’re going to keep pushing to get it there.
The next step in this evolution is to open the floodgates of innovation and partnership even further. In fact, we’re going to knock them off their hinges to facilitate as much growth as possible for the industry. Keep an eye out for big news coming before the end of the year. We’re working internally, and partnering externally, to foster a new way to create and distribute gaming content. We think it will be a huge milestone in the evolutionary journey to democratize and bring new ideas to gaming technology. Stay tuned!