Toys & Games
By Cam Wood
TORONTO – In what was the tail end of the whirlwind tour of the nation,
the much-anticipated Golden Tee Live finally hit the coin-op links in
Canada last month with its final stop in Ontario.
TORONTO – In what was the tail end of the whirlwind tour of the nation, the much-anticipated Golden Tee Live finally hit the coin-op links in Canada last month with its final stop in Ontario.
Starburst Coin Machines, the distributor for the Incredible Technologies revolutionary game, hosted operators in four Canadian cities for the official launch. With only 500 games up for bid in the first shipment from I.T., interest was fairly high, according to representatives for both companies.
And the mood – which in coin-op has been reluctant at best these days – was one of optimism. Manufacturers, suppliers and operators alike agreed that something new is needed for the amusement marketplace, and there is high hopes for this latest offering.
Golden Tee Live takes the coin-op player experience to a new realm – the high-tech world of wireless online gaming, where tournament results are available in real-time.
The overall response from the operators that Canadian Vending spoke with was that the success of the game from their point of view will depend on the associated costs to participate in the online tournament structure – and for the cabinet itself. The game will be available in Canada this month, with 400 cabinets and 100 retrofit kits being manufactured in the first wave.
|Incredible Technologies’ Bob Fay, far left, discusses some of the features of the Golden Tee Live game with operators at the recent launch in Toronto.|
Operators will have the choice of investing $8,490 for the cabinet model, or $5,590 for the retrofit.
“Let’s acknowledge the obvious – the economics of our industry has changed and not for the better,” said Starburst chief operating officer, Gary Walters. “With the level of competition we now face – from television, Xbox, the Internet and casinos – we need the means and the right equipment to meet the challenge. Yes, the platform is expensive to develop and maintain, but we think the game requires and justifies a dramatic change in the way we do business.”
Walters called for everyone to recognize what the competition to the coin-op industry is doing and take a “fresh, bold approach” to the status quo.
“We need to stop kicking ourselves in the ass and under-cutting locations,” he said.
Bob Fay, vice-president of international sales for I.T., said the company will have 6,800 units all spoken for by the end of June. He also stressed that with the dramatic changes made in this offering, operators must also take a fresh approach with the A locations.
“Our industry has been hurting for years because of the home games. We can’t stay stagnant. We think we’ve designed a game to help you make money,” Fay said.
Last month, Canadian Vending detailed the many upgrades and new features in the Golden Tee Live version. At that time, the tournament structure for Golden Tee 2004 was still in doubt. Fay explained that I.T. will continue to run the older version of the tournament as long as demand exists.
“This is the first time that you could have two different tournaments running,” the former FBI agent explained.
As for the fees, there will be a $15 monthly communication fee for the cabinets to be linked to the I.T. servers. Fay said this fee is universal.
Canadian operators will be looking at a new structure, modeled after the U.S. fee schedule. The $1,000 annual tournament registration fee has been eliminated under Live.
Walters recommends operators take the 30 per cent cost to play (cost to cover the tournament structure fee) before the location split. ITS Canada has said that they are offering some rebates to the operators, including a 15 per cent rebate of the cost to play from the unregistered – or non-tournament play.
As for the money going back into the game, Fay said the experience in the U.S. so far has been only a two per cent prize claim rate. The remaining 98 per cent of the prize money won by the players – thanks in part to the new virtual bank account for each player – has been going back into such things as repeat play, player and equipment upgrades, or being held for future use.
“The player account will be the biggest boon to you guys up here,” Fay said.