LAS VEGAS — For the first time in the history of the Amusement Showcase International, the general public will be invited to walk the show floor during the exposition’s final hours. Organizers hope the new policy, which is typically seen with coin-op amusements trade shows in Japan, will garner more positive publicity for the industry and help generate favorable word of mouth among game enthusiasts.
Nearly 150 industry manufacturers and suppliers will display a variety of products at ASI. More than 4,000 distributors, operators, technicians, trade press members, investors, developers, manufacturers and suppliers are expected to attend, including more than 500 international visitors from 40 countries.
ASI runs from March 27 to 29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (lower level, South Hall S1). The show is owned by the American Amusement Machine Association, and produced by William T. Glasgow Inc.
Registration will cost $85 onsite. The Las Vegas Hilton, located next to the Las Vegas Convention Center, will be the headquarters hotel. The room rate is $139 nightly for a single/double, plus 9% tax.
In the weeks leading up to the show, AAMA has strongly promoted its plans to admit the general pubic. Game fans that attend will be the first outside of the industry to try new titles from well-known arcade companies. Tournament play will be available on many new games, with prizes awarded to the day’s highest scorers. Local Las Vegas celebrities have been invited to compete in a special celebrity tournament as well, with prizes going to their favorite charities, the association said.
“We want to give the public a chance to try the newest, hottest games on the market,” said AAMA president Michael Rudowicz. “The consumer’s opinion of the new games is important to the game manufacturers as well as to the buyers who attend the show. Who better to help an entertainment center operator choose which new games to buy than the people who will be playing them?”
Public admission to ASI costs $10 per person; children seven and younger will be admitted for free. Registration will close at 3:00 PM, and pre-registration for public access is recommended.
For the trade, ASI will feature the expected lineup of new products and services, as well as a host of free educational opportunities. The 2008 seminar schedule includes the following sessions, none of which require advanced signup except for the daylong LCD repair workshop (visit asi-show.com to register for this event).
“Leveraging the Web to Improve Your Bottom Line” is offered on Thursday, March 27, from 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM. The speaker will explain how coin-op businesses can use the Internet and associated tools like search engines, email marketing and social media to form relationships with current and potential customers. Practical presentations will demonstrate how these technologies can make an impact on business and direct listeners to resources that can help make these technologies part of any firm’s marketing and customer relations efforts.
Later that day, from 10:30 AM to noon, Alan Ramsay of CLM Entertainment will offer a multimedia presentation called “Branding Guest Service.” Using examples from famous companies ranging from Apple to Southwest Airlines, Ramsay will explain how branding helps attract guests and service keeps them coming back. Topics will cover developing goals and measurable outcomes for a guest-service plan.
Rounding out Thursday’s educational offerings, from 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM, will be a session led by Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants (New Rochelle, NY). “Fun vs. Payout – The Percentage Game of Redemption” will explain what percentage a machine should pay out in tickets or prizes – a question often seen as the most confusing part of redemption operation.
Friday, March 28 starts with a session from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM called “Using the Web to Sell to Local Markets.” Strategies for targeting a local audience will be explained, including search engine optimization and participating sites that feature local content. This presentation will show listeners how to create geographically targeted search engine listings and help them identify other sources of local promotion opportunities.
From 10:30 AM to noon that day, Michael Getlan will present “Operational Management –The Road Goes On Forever.” The philosophy and strategy of continuous improvement will be addressed, including issues of employment, training, management responsibilities and guest service.
A two-part session on LCD monitor repair will be led by instructor Ray Holdren on Friday – part one runs from 10:00 AM to noon, and part two is set for 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The workshop will focus on in-house LCD repairing, offering solutions for real-life scenarios.
Also on Friday afternoon, from 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM, Dorothy Lewis of Fun Station Associates will present “When The Party’s Over.” This advanced session will help FEC owners and managers market resources and bolster repeat party business.
Beyond the show floor and the classroom, ASI also will feature plentiful social, fundraising and networking opportunities. The ASI Big Bar, held on the show floor, will be open Thursday and Friday evening from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. A new event, the “Name That Tune” game show, is open to all operators and begins at 5:00 PM as part of “Happy Hour on the Show Floor.” To enter, visitors drop their business cards at the door of the Big Bar starting at 4:00 PM; contestants will be randomly selected.
The Coin-Op Olympics, featuring the industry’s newest games and prizes for victorious participants, takes place Saturday, March 29, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on the exhibition floor.
The Big Raffle, which benefits the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation and will award new equipment and more, will be held in the AAMA booth on Saturday, March 29, at 3:00 PM. Prizes include an iPhone; a Global VR Nascar Racing videogame; A JVL Retro touchscreen unit; a Panasonic 1,200W. digital DVD home theater system; and a19-in. Merit MegaTouch Aurora countertop.
Big Raffle tickets cost $25 for one, or three for $50. The drawing will be held in the AAMA booth on Saturday, March 29, at 3:00 PM. Entrants need not be present to win. Tickets can be purchased until March 19 at coin-op.org, and will also be sold at the association’s booth.
The ASI-International Flipper Pinball Association will host its second annual International Pinball and Video Pinball Tournament this year, which will be held onsite and runs all three show days.
The World Pinball Championships, held concurrently with ASI, will take place at the Pinball Hall of Fame from March 28 to 30. Some $13,000 in prizes will be awarded, and spectators are welcome. For more information, visit ifpapinball.com.
AAMCF’s Charity Golf Tournament is Wednesday, March 26. Lunch is at 12:30 PM, followed by a shotgun start an hour later. Prizes ranging from cash to gag gifts will be awarded, and a portion of the proceeds will help support children’s charities.
The Century Club will meet Friday, March 28, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in room S223 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. All committee members are encouraged to attend.
ASI attendees will enjoy free access to a powerful online system called GoExpo! a matchmaking service that helps exhibitors and showgoers contact each other. In addition, GoExpo! stores complete profiles of show visitors and companies, and even lets them schedule appointments with each other.
Those planning to attend ASI can use the system to find and learn about exhibitors’ products and services that fit their interests and get a head-start on setting up meetings well before the start of the show. An interactive GoExpo! planner will allow attendees to organize their schedules, make appointments, build a personal show agenda, and keep track of their individual events.
GoExpo! is available only to registered attendees and exhibitors.
Additional show information is online at asi-show.com.