Fun Is Their Business…
QubicaAMF Harnesses History & Vision to Transform Bowling from Sport to Entertainment
“We are 100 percent focused on bowling,” said QubicaAMF CEO and co-founder Emanuele Govoni, “and, frankly, will be for many years to come. It is already very popular, but we believe that there is much more to come – that bowling’s potential is not yet fully unleashed.”
Bowling has a long history both as a sport and as an entertaining activity that just about everyone can play. It gets people out of their homes to have fun and socialize. Today, many entertainment centers have bowling as an attraction –– or as their anchor –– to maximize the appeal of their facilities and drive traffic.
“That’s why our mission is so focused on making bowling amazing,” Govoni said. “We constantly innovate to allow our customers to deliver the best possible, and most innovative bowling experience ever, to their consumers.”
QubicaAMF is convinced that bowling has much more potential to attract and entertain more people, and to do so more often. The company says its products and services are built around the promise to “help our customers fully unleash their potential by making bowling more relevant and attractive to a larger and younger population.”
So how is QubicaAMF working to change bowling? First, by heavily investing in research and development at what they report is at an accelerating pace. In the past seven years, they re-developed their entire product line, creating industry-first products, new versions and numerous improvements on existing products.
QubicaAMF has also worked extensively with consumer research firms to study the guests of entertainment facilities and better understand the motivations and the barriers that exist for people who don’t bowl often or at all.
The company’s BES X bowling scoring system is what they call a “bowler entertainment system,” designed to maximize every aspect of what makes bowling an appealing choice for customers.
People like to bowl because it’s fun, offers good competition, is very social and easy to do. BES X has features and functions to elevate all of those traits, they say, plus it’s full of content and on-lane experiences that are meant to help centers reach a wide variety of consumers. BES X has content targeted to different groups like families, teens, group events and serious competitors.
The system delivers a large variety of interactive content like themed graphics and environments, games and different game formats suited to a wide variety of bowler moods and preferences. It also allows bowlers to personalize their experience through the touchscreen interface with photos and visuals, connections to social media, convenience features like on-lane ordering for food and beverage, and much more.
The company says BES X has changed the way people play and has elevated the bowling experience all around the world. And critically, they say it’s making a real financial difference for all centers with bowling.
And finally, since BES X is at the heart of the on-lane interaction, it’s also the platform for future generations of entertainment and sport bowling features. One of the biggest additions to that platform was just introduced – HyperBowling.
QubicaAMF’s award-winning HyperBowling is the “revolutionary new bowling-based attraction built to extend the reach of bowling beyond the existing bowling population.” The company says it’s a blend of software, mechanical design, electronics, lights and sensors – which together deliver an experience that takes bowling to the next level.
So what exactly is HyperBowling? It’s a new set of bowling games designed around an innovative, new bumper system, which is actually meant to be used as part of the game. Now, players of all skill levels can have fun and win because every shot counts every time.
In HyperBowling, the lights on the bumpers create moving targets that players aim to hit (or avoid). Each game has its own unique set of challenges and levels and includes video game elements unique in bowling such as progressive levels, increasing difficulty, real risk/reward decisions, high score and accomplishments. Four different games provide a variety of challenges to fit different styles, skills and moods.
The factory says, “Combined with exciting visual action on the BES X scoring system overhead monitors and new user interfaces on the SuperTouch consoles, HyperBowling plays like a video game on a bowling lane.”
“HyperBowling takes fun to a whole new level,” said Kelly Wilbar, director of bowling technology solutions for QubicaAMF. “It’s bowling re-invented and your guests will absolutely love it. Our consumer research with over 1,000 participants showed that more than 90 percent of people enjoyed it and would recommend it to their friends. More than 70 percent said they liked HyperBowling more than classic bowling.”
Wilbar said it blends bowling and gaming, and is the ideal way to tap into the “huge potential audience not fully served by bowling today, like Gen Z and Millennials.
“Plus, it’s a perfect fit alongside other high-tech attractions in an entertainment center,” he added.
Hyper Global Moods
In addition to the games and new way to play, the technology created for HyperBowling brings other features to centers, too. One big one is called Hyper Global Moods –– a blending of vibrant intelligent lighting across the lanes and on the pins that is fully integrated into the bowling experience.
Centers can create different looks to set the “mood” – right from the same Conqueror Pro management system they are already using to run the entire bowling operation.
“Hyper Global Moods is an awesome additional use of the lighting technology that comes with the new HyperBowling hardware. With a little creativity, centers can easily change the entire feel of their locations with the click of the mouse. Go from quiet and relaxed to energetic and vibrant in an instant. Plus, guests love how the lights respond to events on the lanes like strikes, spares and yes, even gutter balls are made,” Wilbar said.
BES X Experiences
With the BES X Bowler Entertainment System and HyperBowling, centers have a lot of content and ways to play. In an effort to leverage the many entertainment choices available and make it simple to understand for staff and guests, QubicaAMF says it has created a brand-new product to quickly and easily communicate the right offer to the right people. They call it “BES X Experiences,” and explain that it’s built around a very popular practice used by restaurants and beyond: providing a simple and vibrant menu of bowling entertainment offerings for guests to choose from.
“We wanted to literally make it as easy as 1, 2, 3,” Wilbar said. “With BES X Experiences, centers will showcase their most popular ways to play on big screens for their guests to choose from. The options are built from curated selections of environments and games prepared by our marketing and training experts. After working with over 1,400 BES X centers around the world they’ve got a great feel for the very best practices of matching the right bowling entertainment with the right guests.”
BES X Experiences will be introduced this month at the International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas.
String Pinspotter Technology
But it’s not just about just about making it easy for guests. QubicaAMF is focused on making it easier for bowling businesses, too.
QubicaAMF’s new pinspotter, the EDGE String, is the “amazingly simple way for investors and existing operators to include the fun of real bowling in entertainment-based projects.”
“EDGE String is the next generation in string pinspotter technology, packaging revolutionary electromechanical design together with intelligent software into a pinspotter capable of expanding the reach of bowling entertainment like never before,” said Neil Pennington director of bowling capital equipment for QubicaAMF.
Historically, the operational cost and complexity of pinspotter machines has limited how and where bowling entertainment is offered, but this is no longer the case. Qubica says EDGE String is so simple and reliable anyone can learn to operate it and you don’t need any staff dedicated to pinspotters. It also notifies operators through their smartphones if it needs attention, informing what it needs and showing how to do it through reference videos.
Factory reps say it’s now easier than ever to include real bowling in whatever form best fits your business model or concept. From classic ten pin bowling in both standard and shortened versions to duck pin bowling, Highway 66 mini bowling and others.
With products like BES X, HyperBowling, BES X Experiences and EDGE String Pinspotters, the team at QubicaAMF says it’s focused on transforming bowling into bowling entertainment by offering more choices to guests and making it easier for staff and operators.
“We are developing an ecosystem of products designed to work together and build on one another – products and systems that deliver an amazing, never-before-seen experience for bowling consumers, plus products focused on the consumer experience and that ensure our customer’s long-term success,” claims Govoni. “We think the future of bowling looks amazing.”
A Benchmark of Bowling Breakthroughs
A rich history of innovation is behind the QubicaAMF brand that those in the bowling and FEC businesses know about today.
American Machine Foundry began mass-producing its AMF automatic pinspotter by 1952 after introducing the first one in 1946. It changed the face of bowling again when it introduced the first automatic scoring system in 1976. In 1981, it took on ball design, creating a reactive urethane bowling ball which gave bowlers a ball with more power and better performance than previous offerings. But they still weren’t finished. AMF went after the lanes next, concocting a surface treatment that made play more consistent for bowlers at every skill level.
Then, in 1993, three Italian friends –– Emanuele Govoni, Luca Drusiani and Roberto Vaioli founded Qubica to market bowling as a form of entertainment, not just a sport. They developed a scoring system based on new technology, installing the first one in France in September of that year. (This might surprise readers, but that first “Qubica System” is still in use today!)
In 2005, these two bowling companies merged to form QubicaAMF, an organization that today has installations in over 10,000 centers in 90 countries. Innovation is as much a driving force as it’s always been, too. The factory boasts that it has the largest R&D team in the industry and, as it was celebrating its 25th anniversary last year, noted that they had invested $30 million over the past seven years in their current product line, all part of their mission of “Making Bowling Amazing.”