The wacky waving inflatable tube man signposting the entrance to ACOS this year proved a telling indicator of what awaited attendees inside the ILEC Centre, with operators and manufacturers aiming high through new innovations responding swiftly to a changing market.
Anybody still uncertain as to the location of the Autumn Coin-Op Show was given a helping hand (or two) this year, with the entrance to the ILEC Conference Centre in West Brompton signposted by a waving inflatable figure bearing the show’s branding while reaching for the sky. Inside, those familiar with previous shows may have recognised what has become a familiar pattern of attendance; visitors to wild West London easing comfortably into the first morning, arriving in regular small, excited bursts, until by lunchtime the stands and corridors are packed.
This year was no different, and by 1pm on day one the ILEC hall was buzzing like the inflatable outside, reverberating to the hum of conversations both personal and professional, as operators, suppliers and manufacturers from across the country seized the opportunity to catch up on a roller coaster summer.
Despite the cost of living crisis still making headlines and the fleeting nature of the season’s hot weather made doubly apparent during a typically grey day in the capital, much of the discussion at this year’s show was future-focused and positive, looking ahead to the opportunities of 2024.
With NSM’s Atom revolutionising the way operators view jukeboxes, and Novomatic’s Diamond X 3.32 revealing the possibilities for AGCs in the wake of the White Paper, the emphasis was on innovation, as manufacturers continue to rise to economic challenges placed on venues and customers.
More firsts came in the form of JCM Global’s debut at ACOS, following a recent partnership with Game Payment Technology, prompting a steady flow of visitors to its stand, as was the case with OKTO whose pioneering OKTO.DIRECT offering was delivering an enticing solution to the cashless drive.
Next door at Playsafe, the company took a bold step in featuring a gaming machine fitted with the company’s machine management systems in order to demonstrate the potential of Click and Quantum for customers. At for NRM, the show started in an equally positive fashion with their Jigsaw product making significant inroads into the UK’s AGC and bingo markets.
In terms of rides and cabinets, SB Machines called “chocks away” on its new four-seater £2- per-play Big Plane, continuing the supplier’s focus on value-for-money for “everybody, everywhere” – an attitude echoed by other exhibitors such as Electrocoin, whose range included a host of standout pieces with new mechanics already proven at FECs across the UK and beyond, such as Treasure Alliance and the latest Stern pinballs.
JNC Sales also brought “some real goodies” to the show, according to sales manager Rich Clarke, highlighting the supplier’s new season redemption games such as Crazy Farm and Crazy Toy Galaxy, while UDC’s Jonathan Lauder guided visitors through the firm’s prolific “big hitters” for 2024, such as the four-player water game Wild-Thing Wipe-Out.
In gaming, Blueprint was back at ACOS alongside GeWeTe, showcasing the new Wave+ cabinet and “the best-selling B3 of the year” the Auroramax+, while Reflex demonstrated the scale of its Cat C Community content pipeline, as well as its first machine housing integrated age verification.
Despite the forward-looking developments and talk of next season, there was still time for the industry to celebrate achievements and anniversaries, including the birthday of sector stalwart John Stergides, and the 25th anniversary of TouchTunes.
However, even the jukebox supplier isn’t slowing down to rest on its laurels, with Sue Cooke, Toby Hoyte and Karen Sarosi stating that they are “busy with plans” for January and beyond.