Gambling on product adaptation

As mentioned in a previous entry, multinationals often face the decision whether to adapt products for different national markets.

I was surprised to see this piece on Australian poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat having to adapt its offerings in the very large US market (where the products are even called something different – slot machines).  It turns out US gamblers prefer the physical, spinning reel machines, rather than the digital screen models so prevalent in Australia.

It is surprising, firstly, that it has taken Aristocrat so long to buckle under pressure here – it is the world’s second-largest maker of poker machines. Also, it is curious that such a strong national preference persists in the US.  Spinning reels disappeared from most Australian venues by the mid-1990s, as digital machines are considerably faster (hence more turnover for the venues).  Perhaps consumer sovereignty is greater in the US and casinos etc have had less scope to move the market.

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