Interview with Yogu Kinoshita: New approaches on old classics

May 19, 2023

Yugo Kinoshita, Global CEO of Aruze Gaming Group, speaks to Gaming America about innovation and trends on the casino floor.

How does Aruze reflect on the IGA show and what were the major trends to come out of the tradeshow?

We definitely saw an effort across every vendor to pay homage to the casino classics players have come to love. Across the floor, there are new iterations of classic games — a great example of this is our Shoot to Win Craps Lucky Roll. Craps is a casino staple, but not every new casino-goer wants to risk being called out for how they throw dice. Shoot to Win Craps provides new and younger players with a fun and easy way to learn the game. Innovation by taking classics and providing new twists, either through technology or gameplay, will continue to drive the industry forward. At IGA, we continue to see the seeds of innovation morphing traditional classics. 

Is the case for casino floor diversity the same as the concept for a ‘business case for diversity?’

What we mean by diversity on the casino floor is a diverse set of options that appeal to everyone — legacy and new players alike. Video slots once played this role, innovating on three-reel mechanical slots, adding a new element to the casino floor. Now, we’re innovating on those further to draw in new players and provide new experiences. We created games like Rock, Paper, Scissors Instant Win and Go Go Claw in this same spirit of innovation. We don’t imagine them replacing video slots, but simply adding a new experience to the exciting world of gambling — one that may appeal to a rising demographic.

What is the balance you aim to strike in terms of existing titles for loyal players and new titles for newer players?

The balance can be tricky — it’s not as if there’s a perfect formula, as every casino caters to different audiences. We trust casino operators to strike this balance based on their demographic. Classic games draw in legacy players, while new titles attract different player demographics that typically skew younger.  The casino’s player demographic will determine the casino floor portfolio. From Aruze’s perspective, we are trying to provide twists on both classic casino favorites and new innovative titles that today’s players will love.

How important is innovation within the casino floor?

Innovation is one of the most important tasks for providers and operators right now. There are two iterations of innovation: innovation in our technology, and innovation in how we serve players and operators. We strive to provide both at different phases, bringing the best possible experiences for players and operators alike. Players cannot live on slots alone — and casinos cannot live on just one type of player. If operators never offered ETGs, video slots, or even venue upgrades, would casinos be able to attract players? It’s hard to say. We know everyone likes new experiences, which makes innovation one of the key tenets of survival.

Is there ever a danger of innovating for innovation’s sake and this not necessarily benefiting the casino?

As with all innovation, if it’s not warranted or over-innovated, you run the risk of decreasing the recognition and quick-to-learn elements that make casino games popular. Sometimes it doesn’t work — either it’s too early in the timeline or it’s too complicated for players to adopt. As innovators, it’s our responsibility to navigate that. The idea of “don’t reinvent the wheel” comes to mind — keep the lovable elements and improve them with new, equally enjoyable changes. Leverage new technologies to keep gameplay intact but provide a different experience. You don’t want to isolate your audience and scare them away, especially when you’re trying to make something fun and exciting for them.

Where do you see the next major trend coming on the casino floor?

The next major trend is impossible to predict, but I think it will follow the major tenets we’ve talked about already — new approaches to old classics, for both arcade and casino games. Imagine your favorite arcade game with an exciting, new betting element; we did it for Go Go Claw, and we want to see even more iterations of these classics across the floor. We also want to see new takes on classics — what can we do to add even more excitement to our favorite games? We can’t wait to see what the industry comes up with.

What does Aruze have in store for the rest of 2023?

We’re going to keep innovating and improving our suite of products, delivering the high-caliber fun we’re known for. We want to keep our momentum and work with our customers to provide them the best possible products for their casino floors.


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