Team Play Strikes Again
Game Maker Lays Out Some Juicy Hints About New Products On the Way
Amazingly, after spending many decades in the amusement business, Team Play toppers Frank Pellegrini, Ed Pellegrini and Ken Fedesna keep coming up with new ideas to tap. After wowing the industry in 2014 with its award-winning, cashbox-filling Fishbowl Frenzy, the small, Illinois-based manufacturer immediately went back to work developing its latest redemption title, Launch Code.
The new game uses the same transmissive LCD technology that helped make Fishbowl a hit, superimposing 3D animated imagery over the game’s mechanical aspect in an entirely new way. Recent hires have helped the company leaders keep pace with their ideas, but even with the new additions, Team Play is a close-knit group that attributes its success to quality, as well as lengthy time spent in the industry.
“We’re a small company with big ideas. When you look back to the Williams/Bally/Midway days, it seemed like we had over a thousand people in development, but I think we get more done with our small group here than we used to back then!” said COO Fedesna jokingly. “We did great things back in the day, but now we’re really trying to do something different, and take advantage of the new technology out there. We’ve got stuff coming that will surprise people.”
Team Play keeps most of that “stuff” behind closed curtains, but Fedesna and crew hinted at a new FEC-styled game (one designed for the street market that will feature a recognizable license) and a middle-market photo booth (designed to offer shorter ROI but still include the bells and whistles of higher priced models). The company hopes to capitalize on niche markets they feel have previously been neglected, and believe street locations are due for a new jolt of revenues.
“If you look at our backgrounds, all of us have designed and developed street pieces. We’re very familiar with that side of the business, and think there’s a lot of untapped potential there,” company President Frank Pellegrini said. “We’re very comfortable with street games, so expect some good things from us.”
The company toppers firmly believe in diversifying their product line, offering flashy FEC games like Fishbowl Frenzy and Launch Code, while also focusing on machines with broader appeal, like their photo booth line. The Team Play team is constantly vigilant for new ideas the company could capitalize on, seeking them out from players, operators, partners, competitors and within.
“Since we’re a smaller company, we are able to have everyone participate,” Fedesna said. “We never know where the next idea is going to come from, so we listen externally, seek it out internally and then take all that input, debate it and decide which direction to head with it.”
Those new ideas can come in the form of simple software updates as well, which was the case with Launch Code. Team Play developers created a simple software switch allowing operators to configure each Launch Code game so it caters to a different crowd. The original version challenges the player with numerous ticket-laden tubes that can be awarded with the deft drop of a ball. With the new software, operators can change the gameplay to make it less challenging to the player while still maintaining the game’s integral features. The company believes this will help attract a new, younger audience to the piece.
This continued attention to a game after it’s been released is a core tenet of the Team Play culture and, in a way, helped pave the way for many of their innovations. For example, creating progressive bonuses and other features of Launch Code emerged from what the team learned in developing Fishbowl Frenzy, said Team Play toppers. It’s all part of the company’s continued dedication to producing high-quality amusements, they explain.
“A lot of people encouraged us to add more action to the game, and give players more opportunities to push the buttons and drop balls,” Fedesna said. “So we added more player value into Launch Code.”
That value comes in the form of more balls for players to drop, progressive bonuses meant to keep players coming back and increased attraction lighting. But the player isn’t the only one Team Play is thinking about, citing lessons learned during the shipping and assembly of Fishbowl Frenzy and changes they made to Launch Code to address those.
CEO Ed Pellegrini said, “The launch of Fishbowl went well and the game was reliable, but we heard that some operators were struggling trying to maintain it. With this in mind, we made Launch Code much easier to assemble, maintain and ship.”
The Pellegrinis and Fedesna, as well as their growing team, keep the constantly moving parts of Team Play well-oiled through constant attention to quality before, during and after the sale. Keeping that quality high takes hard work over the years, but it surely doesn’t seem to have diminished the team’s dedication to having a good time as well.
“Obviously, we have a good time here. That’s more important in this industry than most,” Fedesna concluded. “You have to like the people you work with. I think it comes with the years for us!”
And when your company name is “Team Play,” what else could you expect? Learn more by visiting www.teamplayinc.net.