Abhinay Bhagavatula G3 Pulse Podcast: Reflections on G2E, the state of the Gaming industry approaching 2023, the supply chain situation and the launch of Quixant’s turnkey cabinets
Abhinay Bhagavatula – EVP Gaming Business and CTO, Quixant – G3 Pulse podcast
Quixant exhibited at G2E 2022 in Las Vegas – what are your impressions of the show – and of the market in general?
The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone in the Gaming industry – including the gaming exhibitions. However, this year’s G2E was one of the best shows in recent times, which is remarkable considering the challenges the industry has faced.
What I found most interesting about the event this year, was the industry reset that has taken place. We have seen surging demand in new and existing markets over the last 12 months and G2E confirmed this trend. It was great to see that Gaming has reclaimed its pivotal role in mainstream entertainment – especially in Las Vegas – where business is overwhelmingly positive right now.
For a long time G2E has been a barometer used by Gaming suppliers, distributors, and operators to define their roadmap for the future, and it was fantastic to engage in positive conversations once again on the exhibition floor. We look forward to a very positive period of growth as we head into 2023.
At the show Quixant launched a new range of cabinets – Quantum and Qinetic – what’s the background to the launch of the cabinets, and the reason for creating cabinet hardware at this time?
Conversations with customers have increasingly focused on sports betting, land-based and retail markets. Quixant’s new Quantum range of products services the VLT and EGM side of the market, while Qinetic focuses on the kiosk and sports betting side. The background to the launch of this cabinet range is that Quixant has long been a leader in both hardware and enabling technologies for customers and Gaming manufacturers. Our focus is to provide our customers with ‘everything Gaming’ besides the content. Our goal is to help our clients create the best content possible and the launch of Quantum and Qinetic is part of that journey.
Quixant is not only a provider of quality Gaming hardware technology, but we are also a turnkey enabler, helping our customers to speed products to market with ultimate ease of integration. We are more than a manufacturer of cabinets; we deliver value through our full turnkey solution powered by our core gaming PCs, including a full range of software and hardware integration.
What was the response to the launch at G2E – and who do the cabinets specifically target as end users?
The cabinets were very well received, and we were positively engaged with our customers at the show. Qinetic is focused on sports betting where we target our online customers who do not have land-based experience, and are looking to Quixant to provide guidance and full integration to help bring their online sports betting solution into retail environments. Quixant’s Gaming expertise means that we understand the regulations and needs of the market. The value that Quixant offers as a full turnkey solution is hugely important for our customers, who do not have to worry about any additional factors. They simply enable their game for our hardware solution.
As regards to Quantum, the Gaming experience Quixant has built over the years in cabinet solutions, means that this is a natural evolution, bringing into reach new markets for our customers, especially route markets. Over the last two years we have witnessed the enormous growth of online gaming, and now a large number of online content providers are seeking to enter the land-based sector. Our advantage lies in the fact that most cabinet solution suppliers are pure hardware providers, which is the differentiator for Quixant. We provide the full turnkey integration for our customers, helping with their complete launch into the market.
Do you think Tier 1s will make the migration to this type of solution?
I have worked extensively with Tier 1s in the past, and so I’d say that the mindset is changing due in part to the supply chain challenges that have arisen over the last two years. Many Tier 1s are also entering new markets, including route markets in which they weren’t involved in the past. There is a shift in market acquisition for Tier 1s, and the demand and competition are driving conversations that also factor in the challenges of the supply chain, so much so that the value of outsourced turnkey solutions is rising. Some of these solutions lower the barrier to entry in certain markets, removing the heavy lifting for the Tiers 1s. So, it’s something that creates an open dialogue for Quixant with Tier 1s as they look to new markets.
Are these changes taking place in the near or long-term?
Cost is the biggest driver in the industry right now. Keeping product rolling has meant that everyone has had to pay more, but as we move into next year and start to reap the cost efficiency rewards of turnkey solutions, Quixant can help customers by providing full value in terms of cost and quality.
Quixant launched its redesigned website just ahead of the show and enhanced the Quixant Hub – its dedicated customer support portal – what enhancements have you made and how does this tie into the launch of the new cabinets?
As a customer-centric company, Quixant is constantly striving to improve customer experience and provide more ways to engage with our offerings, whether that’s hardware or software. The redesign of the website is in line with our company putting Gaming at the core of everything we do. These are influencing factors in the improvements and enhancements we’ve made to the website and the Quixant Hub and the launch of the new cabinets and software enhance the reach of Quixant. As a company that offers a suite of hardware, software and turnkey integration, the website is a showcase for Quixant and a one-stop-shop for all our customer’s Gaming needs.
While the cabinets stole the limelight at the show, what embedded solutions from Quixant made waves at the show – and what further development does Quixant have planned for the final quarter of the year and early 2023?
I think a striking part of our customer conversations, for several years now, is how much bigger and brighter casinos floors have become – and Vegas is very obviously the epitome of that. As technology evolves and the demand for Gaming performance continues to rise, Quixant must always strive to be ahead of the game so that our clients and customers can design, develop and create the very best games possible. Customers look to us to provide them with the best Gaming hardware platforms and in response we are adding more options through our embedded offering.
At G2E we introduced our Intel Gen.11-based Gaming platform with discreet PCI graphics, which is a first for Quixant. This allows greater choice for our customers to scale the platform in relation to their performance requirements. We have always supported a host of solutions from AMD, but we’ve now taken our partnership with Intel to the next level with the new Gaming platforms available for release next year, which utilise Intel’s latest generation of platforms and give our customers the widest possible options and the best available technology.
We can’t end a Quixant podcast without asking about the state of component supplies. Are we in a better shape now than at the beginning of the year? And what can we expect into 2023?
This was the biggest question asked at G2E. The last couple of years have been very challenging and at Quixant we are very grateful to have such great partnerships with our customers. The most important decision that Quixant took during this period was to continue investment in inventory and stock to support the needs of our customers throughout this challenging period. Only recently have we started to see trends in supply chain normalisation – although I would not say we are not out of the woods yet. We didn’t see these patterns six months ago, so there are certainly improvements, and we expect things to normalise over the course of 2023, into the latter half of the year. We continue to monitor the supply chain situation very closely, and there is no plan to slow down our investment any time soon.
What impact do you think the recession will have on the supply chain?
No one at G2E was worrying about the recession affecting the Gaming business. The demand and opportunity at present are so great that a correctional slowdown isn’t a factor the industry is considering. Everyone is very positive about this year and beyond, as we fast approach 2023. What’s certainly a factor is that over the last couple of years we are increasingly prepared to deal with these extreme challenges and issues, and particularly how to plan for long lead times. The enormous planning effort has now mitigated that risk. From Quixant’s standpoint, as a turnkey outsource provider for our customers, we continue to plan 12 months in advance with the hope that many of the price pressures, still present in the market, will fall in the near future as supply and demand normalise.