The buzzword of 2012: Convergence!

All indications are that the US is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to the convergence of land-based casino gaming with online, social, casual and mobile gaming.  We are seeing daily examples of this in the news.  Here is a picture that is supposed to illustrate convergence, although to me it looks like rejected artwork from a Journey album cover.
One such example was announced today by WMS Industries.  iGaming Business reports that American lottery and slot machine designer and manufacturer WMS Industries Incorporated has announced the establishment of its William Interactive LLC division to aid the growth and development of its global online wagering, social, casual and mobile gaming initiatives.
Waukegan-based WMS Industries operates developer Jadestone, the online casino at and the Lucky Cruise slot-like Facebook app that utilises credits instead of money and stated that its new Williams Interactive subsidiary will ‘optimise the benefits of iGaming’ for its casino operator customers and players.
WMS Industries was recently approved for an interactive gaming licence by the State Gaming Control Board in Nevada and revealed that its new iGaming subsidiary is to be led by Orrin Edidin, President for WMS Industries, serving as the division’s President and Chief Executive Officer. He has been tasked with leveraging the company’s product development expertise, content and online gaming capabilities in order to take advantage of the emerging iGaming industry’s significant growth potential and supporting partners’ participation in its new distribution channels.
“A global migration toward content convergence and multi-channel distribution is rapidly underway,” said Edidin.
“Having anticipated the convergence of land-based casino gaming with online, social, casual and mobile gaming, we set out several years ago to prepare WMS to benefit from these exciting new opportunities. We have developed and acquired the appropriate experience and skills needed to help our customers prepare for the convergence in their businesses with a broad set of value-added solutions, products and managed services.
“Creating a single organisation to unify the company’s efforts in online wagering and interactive gaming distribution channels while drawing upon our extensive existing library of great gaming content will better enable WMS to participate in the many high-margin opportunities this content convergence offers.
“Williams Interactive enables us to efficiently integrate our Atlanta-based online development resources, India-based systems and software capabilities, Chicago-based online development studio and engineering staff, our UK-based operational center, our Sweden-based online development and operations center and our Iowa-based Phantom EFX development team for social, casual and mobile gaming entertainment.”
WMS Incorporated has also promoted Kenneth Lochiatto to the posts of President and Chief Operating Officer for its WMS Gaming subsidiary.
“For several years, WMS has been moving toward the convergence of land-based casino entertainment with players’ desires for gaming content across the full spectrum of online, social, casual and mobile mediums,” said Brian Gamache, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for WMS Industries,
“As result of our anticipation of this convergence, we already possess a comprehensive range of leading solutions to meet our customers’ current and evolving needs. Establishing Williams Interactive is an important step forward in concentrating our efforts and increasing our collective ability to leverage our operational and development initiatives to propel growth and returns to the next level.
“Across the gaming industry, casino operators are looking for assistance in preparing for the ongoing convergence between their land-based casino gaming and the various new iGaming options. With our already advanced existing capabilities, which benefit from our core competencies in developing player-appealing gaming content, we believe WMS is favourably positioned to help our customers benefit through the development of customised gaming experiences that will engage their existing patrons, attract new players and help them grow their businesses.’
WMS Industries declared that its new Williams Interactive subsidiary is to be headquartered at its technology campus in Chicago and structured to ‘strengthen its various interactive businesses including its online managed services’, its ‘online game server operations’ and its ‘social, casual and mobile gaming operations’.
As part of this shake-up, Jordan Levin has been named Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for William Interactive while Kent Hansen will serve as the subsidiary’s Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer with Aaron Schurman leading the recently-acquired Phantom EFX social, casual, and mobile gaming business.
In addition, WMS Industries said that it has assembled ‘significant management and development talent’ through a combination of internal individuals and members of the Phantom EFX and Jadestone teams.
“Our customers are seeking a partner that can help them respond to consumer demand for the best and most engaging content across multiple mediums by delivering a proven and integrated strategic approach to gaming in the online, social, casual and mobile world,” said Gamache.
“With our said documented history of innovation, proven player-appealing gaming content and record for responsible gaming compliance in legalised and regulated markets, our customers know they can count on WMS to help them stay connected to their players wherever and however players find it most convenient to seek gaming entertainment today and in the future.”

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