AGS: The Orion Upright–a new core contender Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports · October 10, 2018 at 6:55 pm Big surprise, there are some new cabinets on display at Global Gaming Expo. That’s hardly worth a mention at all, since new cabinets are as common at G2E as candy dishes and spokesmodels in foot-torturing high heels. However, a new core cabinet is something different. They only seem to come along every seven or eight years. Split among the five or six major manufacturers, we generally see only one or two of these boxes a year, if we see any at all. So what’s a core cabinet? It’s the base game for any slot supplier. You might call it the entry-level cabinet. That’s not totally accurate, though; some core cabinets are the best of the best. They can be groundbreaking, like Aristocrat’s Helix, Konami’s Concerto or Scientific Games’ Twinstar J43, or they can be a rare misstep, like the ATI Viridian or the IGT SAVP.AGS’s Orion cabinet has been a strong hit since its preview in 2014 and its GLI-launch the following season. Today, it is blossoming, with 23 titles and a position on the Top Ten of just about every industry list. But the Orion was not a core cabinet. It fell into the premium, or specialty, class of games, with a somewhat higher price, performance, and features. At G2E, AGS is previewing their replacement for their core ICON video cabinet. This box, which was acquired when AGS purchased Cadillac Jack, was never a major success, but it wasn’t bad either, and it introduced several features to the industry that directly paved the way for the Orion that followed. The ICON cabinet was one of the first to feature a slim play deck with buttons set into a perfectly horizontal platform that gives players plenty of knee room. It also had larger-than-standard play or spin buttons. These are design keys that virtually every other slot supplier has since made standard. The new core cabinet, known as the Orion Upright, combines some of the best features of the ICON and Orion. Brett Vela, the Upright’s product manager, can’t contain his enthusiasm for this new offering. “The top 10 performing ICON themes will launch on this new cabinet when it is released in 2019,” Vela says. AGS is thus avoiding a major mistake that many suppliers make of only offering new titles on their newest box. But, he adds, “We’ll also add four to six new themes exclusive to the Upright.” And AGS isn’t abandoning existing ICON owners either, with new titles for that cabinet coming through 2020 and cabinet support continuing to 2025. Physically, the new cabinet borrows the eye-catching multi-LED light panels of all Orion platforms. There’s no missing this distinct design feature from any distance. Unlike the other two premium boxes (portrait and slant), the Upright features dual 27” high-def monitors (up from the 23” displays on the ICON). Vela says that, along with being bigger, these new screens are significantly brighter and have better contrast than the earlier games. The display gets even more impressive when adding the optional 21.5” LCD topper. There are also dual “spin” or “bash” buttons which have become standard on AGS offerings. The real reason a core cabinet attracts interest among operators is price. Both the Helix and J43 were close to the magical $20,000 mark in their base forms. If you have a good theme, this is a great price point for operators. The AGS Orion Upright should be at, or below, this preferred price range. Many models will feature AGS’s successful multi-level progressive controller. The four-level meter version is their most popular setup, but they also have some “must-hit-by” progressive variants. Vela says their proven progressive controller supports up to 20 games in a pool, with multiple pools allowing configurations up to 120 games. The ICON cabinet was also a strong entry in Class Two markets, and Vela says that their bingo-based version of the Upright will follow soon after the launch of the Class III game. Operators will also appreciate some nice accommodations that AGS has built into the Upright for those who have to service and maintain these platforms. There’s nothing more irritating than a slot attendant opening the door of the game next to you (usually on your right) and having your game blocked by the open door of your neighbor’s machine. AGS has made access to the interior components available through the LCD screens, which swing upward, rather than a standard horizontal door swing. The same applies to the bill validator, which comes out directly forward with no obstruction to nearby play. You can preview the new Orion Upright in the AGS booth, opposite Konami and directly across from Novomatic at the left rear of the Sands Expo.