G2E Day Minus OneBy Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 2, 2017 at 6:13 pmFrom a slot perspective; some of the best insights about product success can be found outside the Expo floor, especially since the show moved from the LVCVA to the Sands Expo Center. Manufacturer’s pull out the stops to make sure that their latest products (those that are actually released and ready for sale) are installed and operating at the Venetian and Palazzo. This makes sense since all attendees are funneled past these games on the way to the show venue.The release dates are an important consideration in putting new product in perspective. At last year’s show, a lot of fanfare was devoted to Aristocrat’s Dragon Links. It followed on the heels of their now-legendary Lightning Links. They hired an authentic Chinese New Year dance troupe that did a wonderful dragon ceremony that drew applause and admiration. Sadly, Dragon Links wasn’t released last year. At least not in North America. Reportedly it is doing impressive numbers in Australia, but nothing here so far. It is coming “soon.”What was on display on the Venetian/Palazzo floor in late 2016 were IGT’s stadium table game; dozens and dozens of Bally’s Curves, Aristocrat’s Arcs and Konami’s Selexions. While the IGT ETG concept has not taken full flight yet; operators had surefire hits with these other three (and almost everything else curved).Therefore; my bold prediction for 2018 (from outside the show) is to buy a Konami Fortune Cup horse race game as soon as you can. Like Dragon’s Link; it was shown last year, but is now running just outside the Expo Center. It is not really a new concept; as every old-timer will first call it a “Sigma Derby” (a popular game from 30 years ago). But this multi-player game has been packed here since it was installed. This week, half the players were exhibitors taking a break from show set-up; and that’s a really good sign. At least a dozen different folks in the last decade have talked about bringing back a good horse racing game with mechanical (instead of video) horses, but no one did it until now. Good on you Konami.Also of note on this floor are several examples of ETGs with video dealers featuring almost every game from $5 BJ to Roulette and Craps. They do not seem to be as popular as the ponies; but they wouldn’t be here in such great numbers if there weren’t some good demand.The low profile winners on their floor are still the new curved products with the Bally J43 in the lead, Aristocrat in second. The first haptic games are also getting attention with Bally’s Simpsons and Willy Wonka out front. Of course IGT has hits with 3D/4D platforms and their reel spinning S3000 is still the leader (and gaining) in the category.Lastly, I can’t end today without talking about the tragedy that we all witnessed from a distance last night. In 1980, I was a television news reporter in Reno, NV when a young woman named Pricilla Ford drove her Lincoln down the sidewalk at high speed on Thanksgiving Day. She killed six and injured 23, many of whom still carry the scars and disability. She took her place in hell 25 years later after languishing in a Nevada prison. Despite her passing, those images never left me. I doubt this Sunday’s massacre will soon fade either in the decades to come. Despite the fact that the killer removed himself from this earth quickly; the “why” may never be answered.