ICE, London 2020. One of the most exciting events on the iGaming calendar, ICE London, is currently in full swing at ExCel. The event began with a festive spirit as the MD of Clarion Gaming, Kate Chambers, cut the ribbon to open the show as a UK gospel choir sang out.
It has been eight years since the event moved up from Earls Court to the more spacious surrounds of the cavernous ExCel Centre. A timely shift too, since 2020 is shaping up to be the biggest event so far. Over 600 exhibitors are setting up camp in the convention centres 47,500 square meters of floor space for the over 40,000 expected visitors.
The event runs from February 4-6 and showcases some of the biggest and newest developments in the iGaming space. This covers all aspects of the gaming industry from casinos, payment providers, table games, consumer protection, lotteries, cyber protection, advertising, VR, slots, and more.
This year also sees a huge focus on the growing eSports industry. So much so, that an 8,000 sqm arena has been set up for teams to battle it out for $250,000 in prizes. The game driving the action is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and pits eight of the best teams in the world in head to head combat. The arena comes complete with a stage, commentary area, and an in-themed bar.
One of the key drivers of ICE is to provide professionals in the industry invaluable opportunities for networking. Among the hundreds of exhibitors are 73 who are attending for the first time from over 30 territories. This includes far-flung destinations such as Curacao, Armenia, Lithuania, Singapore, and more, which is evidence of the strong growth in the industry.
Organisers are excited about the expanded show. Dan Stone, Head of ICE London’s Marketing team had this to say – ‘As well as existing exhibitors taking additional space, we are delighted to welcome those companies who will be attending ICE London for the first time. It’s an important part of what keeps ICE London fresh and exciting and we know the ability to meet with potential new suppliers resonates with our international visitor base.’ ICE gives professionals, and fans a glimpse into the future, and a chance for developers to showcase what they’ve got cooking.
Covering all bases, responsible gaming is one of the key themes at the ICE event. A whole zone has been established to focus on Consumer Protection. This centrally located zone is nearly a third larger than the one last year and is the centrepiece of the industries commitment to the safety of players and fans.
New Slot Announcements
Speaking of fans, if you are reading this article, you will no doubt be keen to hear what is coming up on the slots horizon. The great news is that there are some really exciting titles and ideas being tossed around by developers big and small. Here is some of the stand out titles from the event to keep an eye out for.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (NetEnt)
Video gamers will be super excited to see this collaboration between NetEnt and iconic video game developer Capcom. It’s safe to say that Street Fighter II took the world by storm ever since it was released back in 1991. It might not have been the first fighting game, but it became the benchmark that all others would be judged by. NetEnt plan to return the eight key fighters – Ken, Ryu, E. Honda, Guile, Chun Li, Blanka, Zangief, and Dhalsim, as well as bosses Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison.
The details are a little light, but NetEnt appears to be sticking to the spirit of the popular game, and in the words of Bryan Upton, NetEnt Director of Games ‘It is a dream come true to work on brands like these.’ That is a sentiments that fans of the video game are no doubt sharing right now. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is due for release on May 21, 2020.
Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen slot (NetEnt)
Keeping the branded slot train rolling comes one of the first of several unexpected collaborations. NetEnt has brokered a deal with Gordon Ramsay’s licensing agent Global Merchandising Services to bring all of the steamy, fast-paced action of the world’s most famous kitchen to a slot. Gordon Ramsay might have opened a successful chain of restaurants around the world, but he remains most famous for shouting and swearing at wannabe chefs in his cooking television show.
If NetEnt can channel the energy, rage, and sheer power of the infamous chef we could very well have quite the slot on our hands. At the moment there is no set release date for the Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen slot.
Game of Thrones Power Stacks (Microgaming/Slingshot Studios)
Six years since Microgaming signed their branded relationship with HBO comes the latest Westeros themed slot. Fans of the massive TV series will be thrilled to know that the game will feature several of the lead characters, though there is no word on who that will be just yet. Partner studio Slingshot has been tasked with taking players on a rewarding journey through the dangerous world of Westeros.
With the record-breaking popularity of the 8 season show and the previous Game of Thrones slots, there is a lot of expectation riding on this one. Jean-Luc Ferriere, CCO of Microgaming has claimed they will deliver ‘a quality, feature-rich slot game so that players can enjoy the authentic Game of Thrones-themed gaming experience.’ Release date for Game of Thrones Power Stacks is scheduled for later this year.
deadmau5 (Microgaming/Eurostar Studios)
One of the most in-demand artists has teamed up with Microgaming to produce a new music heavy slot. Boutique partner, Eurostar Studios is the designer tasked with creating this new slot, but they have plenty of help from the artist as well.
The game is based on deadmau5’s latest tour v3 and will include tracks and artwork from the man himself. deadmau5 is one of the most popular electronic music producers in the world with a string of albums and Grammy nominations to his name. This branded amalgamation looks to meld music and gaming into one entertaining experience. deadmau5 is set for release in 2020.
The Trillionaire (NetEnt)
In yet another intriguing collaboration, NetEnt has signed a deal with Fashion TV Gaming Group to bring out a new slot themed by the hit song ‘I Want to be a Trillionaire.’ The song features the FTV star Anja J and provides NetEnt with a bridge to FTV’s two billion+ viewers. FTV is all about luxury, glamour, events, and parties which is sure to be prominent in the new slot. With such a huge ready-made audience and prestige brand, FTV must have been on plenty of developer’s radars.
FTV appear super excited to choose NetEnt to create the new FTV branded slot. In the words of COO Shai Kaplun, the selection was due to ‘NetEnt’s unrivalled ability to deliver world-class slot games that are always a step ahead of the competition makes them an ideal brand to business partner to further our presence in the gaming industry.’ It sounds from that quite that we can expect even more from FTV in the future. The Trillionaire slot is set for release later this year.