The Success Story of WMS: from Pinball to Real Art in the World of Casino Games

If you fancy online gambling, then you have probably come across WMS once or twice in your escapades. It is a known software provider with conduits in Video Lottery Terminals and slot machines. WMS games casinos offer you to enjoy the unfiltered content that the company has to offer. The company is now wholly owned by Scientific Games Corporation after the latter acquired it in 2013.

WMS Gaming, however, enjoys a rich history that seen it traverse from making pinball tables to creating slot machine masterpieces and providing excellent software for online casinos across the United States.

Company History

WMS Gaming can be traced to the days when Williams Manufacturing Company was established, back in 1943. The firm pioneered and colonized the art of making pinball machines and was largely successful. The company had also ventured into video arcade games which were supplied across the USA market. Harry Williams, who was the chief designer for Williams Manufacturing, also made games for Bally and Rocka Ola.

Many pinball mechanics can be attributed to Williams. First, he was the man who invented the pedestal tilt and pendulum tilt mechanics in pinball. He further introduced an element of skill in the game of pinball and alleviated all claims that it was a game of chance. For this reason, pinball was banned in many states in the USA.

Between the 40’s and the 70’s, Williams Manufacturing Industries underwent several changes in ownership but remained steadfast in the pinball trade. The most notable change of ownership was in 1964 when Seeburg rebranded the firm to Williams Electronic Manufacturing Division. Seeburg was one of the top companies in America at the time. Its estimated revenue in 1964 was almost $76 million. The company helped Williams Manufacturing to grow as it expanded its reaches outside the US border. However, Seeburg ran into some difficulties in the mid 80’s and filed for insolvency. Williams Electronics, which was still profitable at the time, had ventured into arcade games. It was acquired by Xcor limited but worked as separate entities until 1988 when they officially parted ways.

However, in the late 90’s, the arcade business started to diminish. The pinball arm was no longer profitable; hence, it was sold in 2000. The company moved its video game operations to their gaming branch – Midway Games. Midway Games went public and became an independent entity in the late 90’s.

All along, the firm had sprouted another gaming branch in 1991 called WMS Gaming. In 1992, the branch released its first video lottery terminal for the people of Oregon. It was not wholly successful as they had hoped. The new company then decided to stick a foot in the slot business. WMS Gaming was given a license to manufacture, sell, and distribute games across 12 states in the USA including New Jersey and Nevada. It also had a license for sale in Australia and Canada.

After a cumbersome two years, the company was ready to release its first video slot machine, Reel ‘Em In. It was launched in 1996 and was an instant hit among punters in the United States. The slot machine was a multi-line video slot with bonus features included.

The success of Reel ‘Em In motivated the company to release more titles one after the other. These were:

  • Jackpot Party
  • Boom, and
  • Filthy Rich.

While still reveling in the success of their just-released titles, a technical glitch was discovered in one of the company’s games. Further, the company was sued by IGT for patent infringement. IGT was victorious. Regardless, the firm continued with its operations and released several other products between 2001 and 2013.

The most notable of its products were the Monopoly-themed slot games launched in 2001. Since the company enjoyed an exclusive patent over these slots, it decided not to sell the games but license them to a few casino operators. Later on, the company got into partnerships with movie franchises and was given exclusive rights to feature slots that bore the names and theme of the movies. Some of these are:

  • Star Trek
  • Clue
  • Powerball
  • The Lord of The Rings
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Pac-Man
  • Survivor
  • Hollywood Squares
  • Monopoly
  • Men in Black, and
  • The Wizard of Oz.

In 2003, WMS launched another product dubbed CPU-NXT, which has film quality animations and excellent graphics quality. CPU-NXT was based on Linux OS and was the first to use flash memory instead of random access memory which could easily be erased.

Range of Products

Today, WMS is a master of the slot machines. It focuses mainly on online and mobile slots. However, it also has other products apart from slots. The G+ reels is a series of video reels, Community Gaming slots, poker, and video lottery terminals, which are the main products made by WMS Gaming. Its most popular slot machines include:

  • Leprechaun’s Gold
  • Match Game
  • Road To Riches
  • Reel “Em In
  • King Midas, and
  • Slotsky, among others.

After experiencing low sales in 2012, it was acquired by Scientific Games but still operates as an independent entity. You can play the developer’s games on WMS powered online casinos.

In Brief

The story of WMS is genuinely awe-inspiring. It has been built on a reputation of greatness and has continued the trend till today. WMS games are interactive, fast-paced, and have some of the best bonus features in the slot category. The games can be played for free by selecting the demo version of the game. Real money options are also available.

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