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Oct. 6, 2004: Online Music & Games Dominate Expo; Sega-Sammy Merger Official; Global VR's Bharvirkar Resumes CEO Role

Posted On: 10/6/2004

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ONLINE VIDEO GAMES, JUKEBOXES DOMINATE AMOA EXPO

LAS VEGAS - The Amusement and Music Operators Association presented its third annual Innovator Awards to Incredible Technologies for its new, constantly connected "Golden Tee Live!" golf video. Unveiled at AMOA Expo, "GTL" features a wireless Sprint connection and a new tournament structure designed to attract more casual players' Valley-Dynamo also received an Innovator Award for its new "Great 8" electronic pool table' TouchTunes latest version 2.2.0 jukebox software made its debut; it features new broadband capabilities for any data source including cable or DSL. Operators will be able to update their jukeboxes currently using version 1.9.0 or above by downloading the new software. Immediate benefits include rapid song downloads, enhanced diagnostics, improved music searches for Tune Central components and more' Rock-Ola launched upgraded "E-Rock" and "Wall Rock" downloading jukeboxes that integrate more-powerful custom-designed speakers and commercial amplifiers from Peavey Electronics Corp' Rowe and Rock-Ola also signed AMOA's Internet Privacy and Security Policy during the show' Ecast rolled out "Ecast Unplugged," its new WiFi product and service, an add-on option that operators of Ecast-powered jukes can offer to locations. WiFi turns the location into an "Internet hot spot" where laptop users can go online without having to plug into a hardwired connection... Rowe unveiled its new line of digital jukeboxes powered by a proprietary broadband system under the auspices of its AMI Entertainment subsidiary' Global VR debuted its online driver "Need For Speed: Underground"' while Merit's "Fantasy Football" , the company's first-ever video game supported by online tournaments with cash prizes , made its debut.

SEGA, SAMMY MERGE AS PLANNED; NO WORD ON RESTRUCTURING

TOKYO , Sega officially merged with Sammy Corp. on Oct. 1, debuting on the Japanese stock market as Sega Sammy Holdings. At AMOA Expo in Las Vegas, company officials had no further news regarding plans for future combined products, personnel, offices, corporate structure, or anything else. A full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 1 was the only U.S. message from the company. The ad echoed remarks released by officials in Tokyo that the new parent firm intended to blend the strengths of both companies to dominate the video game market.

VAN ELDEREN CONSULTS TO GVR; BHARVIRKAR RESUMES CEO ROLE

SAN JOSE, CA , Speculation leading up to last week's AMOA-Fun Expo centered on who would be the new CEO of GVR, in the wake of founder Milind Bharvirkar's exit from that role. The surprising answer: the new CEO is Bharvirkar himself. He has resumed his CEO title in addition to his new chairman's post, it was announced at the show. Dan Van Elderen, former president of Atari, has joined GVR as a consultant to handle day-to-day operations. GVR's new president is Brad Nelson, currently a senior vice-president at GVR's leading investor, Calim Private Equity LLC.