IGT: REVERSING CONVERSION COURSE

IGT is back supporting its old S2000 platform with new games after a year long hiatus

As we wrote about last year in our post entitled "BYE, BYE CONVERSIONS, HELLO...." (8/26/08), IGT ceased the development and installation of new games on its old platforms, including S2000.  The logic then was that casinos would be forced to buy new slot machines, rather than the cheaper conversions.  IGT would sell more of the new AVP platform games.  It looked to us like a pretty big bet on server based gaming.  We predicted that the company would lose share to BYI and WMS since there were almost 500k old platform IGT games in North America.  As a low cost alternative to a new slot machine, game conversions would've sustained market share for IGT.  Taking the conversion option away from a casino provided a jump ball for market share.  An IGT machine doesn't need to be replaced with an IGT machine.

Well, the strategy failed.  IGT is back in the conversion business.  The company is once again offering games for its S2000 platform.  Since it was the wrong decision to move away from S2000 conversions last year, it's probably the right move to get back in the game.  For this reason and a few others, IGT market share will likely stabilize although there is a possibility for lower box sales than some may be expecting.

2010 promises to be an interesting year for the slot suppliers and this just adds to uncertainty.  Will highly leveraged casino companies increase replacement buying enough to offset the significant drop off in new/expanded market opportunities?  Will server based gaming finally have an impact?  When will new markets begin to contribute?  Will the impressive content shown at G2E stimulate replacement demand?