American Gaming Software Technology
American Gaming Software--not to be confused with American Gaming Systems (a Las Vegas-based class II and class III gambling manufacture)--has been in the sweepstakes software business for about two and a half years. A little late to the sweepstakes industry, this North Carolina-based startup has scrambled to get in on the action. AGS hasn’t had much luck distributing its product in its home state, which is the most saturated sweepstakes state in the US. In an effort to speed up distribution and make a little profit from what seems to have been a floundering sweepstakes software, AGS sold a white label (unbranded) copy of its games to Netsweeps (see the Netsweeps review).
Consequently, AGS and Netsweeps have sweepstakes games that are almost exactly the same. Netsweeps has changed the graphics (skins) of most of the games, but the game engine is exactly the same. For this reason you may note that several of the category rankings for AGS and Netsweeps are identical (games, technology, and profitability). At the heart of every sweepstakes software is the game engine, including its math model and the unique feel and flavor of the games. It could be said that AGS shares a heart with Netsweeps--but the two companies have taken radically different approaches to sales, distribution, and support. Furthermore, reviewers give the two companies very different rankings in some areas--so we have chosen to review AGS and Netsweeps separately.
AGS is truly a software development house with very little marketing or sales force. With a distribution score that is among the lowest in the industry, selling a version of their games to Netsweeps was probably a wise move. Regardless, if the AGS sweepstakes games exhibited better performance and were more profitable we would likely see significantly more internet cafes using AGS games. AGS has all of the challenges of poor performing games that Netsweeps has--but without the benefit of an aggressive sales force to continually add new locations as older ones go out of business or change sweepstakes software.
On a more positive note, reviewers have had fairly positive things to say about the company’s technical support. When the sweepstakes has technical issues its reassuring to be able to get in touch with someone to help you. Although overall the AGS games support isn’t stellar, it is relatively high for a sweepstakes software that’s not “top 10” and significantly higher than its sister company Netsweeps. As mentioned in the Netsweeps review, AGS seems to have focused on support while Netsweeps focused on sales. Consequently we see a higher distribution for Netsweeps but a higher support score for AGS.
AGS uses a “pseudo” web-based technology. The game server that hosts the pools data is centrally managed in a data center (offsite). Such technology is superior to requiring an on-site game server and is therefore more desirable. But the games are locally installed on each terminal and the point-of-sale computer is also proprietary. This means that although AGS is likely to have fewer technical issues than a standard client-server internet cafe sweepstakes model, it may still have issues with the onsite point of sale that could cripple the business. Since the games are locally installed on the client PCs, customers are not able to reveal sweepstakes entries from home as they would with a completely web-based sweepstakes platform.
Sweepstakes Software Ratings:
With a somewhat innovative hybrid web-based sweepstakes platform, American Gaming Software sweepstakes has a top 5 for technology. Consequently, AGS pricing is fairly competitive. The sweepstakes company has a fairly good record for service and support, but ultimately the games and, naturally, the profitability are fairly low for the industry. We suspect this is natural as AGS is new to the industry--it will improve. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced sweepstakes software with pretty good support and are in an area with very little competition, AGS might be worth considering.
I am a former client of AGS; I am part owner in an of an internet cafe in North Carolina. The software was not profitable for my partners and I. We had their software for about 6 months and about lost our shirt (we changed software and we are doing much better). These guys are nice to work with but that does not get our bills paid. We would have liked to have seen better profitability with this software. Just disappointed. We liked some of their games but felt that we spend too much up front. In life, you either get experience or you learn a lesson… Looking back, it was a big lesson learned. We ended up changing to frontier and it has been much, much better for us.