Quixant is to unveil a range of new Intel-based products at ICE London that build upon the launch of its new cabinet range
G3 speaks to Quixant’s Chief Commercial Officer, Duncan Faithful, about the ongoing supply chain issues that continue to linger from the pandemic, but also the optimism that’s driving the gaming industry forward into 2023 and towards a spectacular ICE London exhibition.
Looking back to 2022, how would you summarise the year for Quixant?
I think 2022 was a year of transition – and from the point of view of the industry, the two big gaming shows – ICE and G2E – mirrored the developments that we saw across the year.
ICE London in April was an event dominated by online and sports betting, and for Quixant, it was also the first time in many years that we didn’t take a booth, but observed from the show floor. Fast forward six months to G2E, however, and it was a completely different experience. Despite the fact that all of our new product development (NPD), which we will see at ICE this year, wasn’t on show at G2E, the nervousness from ICE in April had been replaced by optimism. Our booth was rammed and the attitude from customers was: “lets go for it!”
The industry is raring to go, but have the supply issues that dogged us throughout the pandemic gone away yet?
I think the industry is right to still be a bit cautious on that front. Having just been to Taiwan and talking to several suppliers in China, we are not out of the woods yet in terms of all of the component issues we’ve talked about since the start of the pandemic. However, I think the cautious optimism we’ve seen accelerate from G2E onwards is indicative of the year to come.
While for the wider industry 2022 was a transition period, at Quixant we spent much of the year focusing on supply chain and fulfilment, ensuring that our customers received their components so they could take their products to market. Our aim was to do the basics really well, make sure that clients could launch their games at G2E – that was our prime focus – and we achieved it. So for Quixant it was a successful year, though maybe not quite as exciting as it could have been.
What’s the customer outlook for 2023 – what are your clients expecting from Quixant and from the market this year?
For Quixant the overriding feedback we’ve had for the last couple of months is ‘don’t take your eye off the ball’. Customers have exciting plans as we head into ICE London, and beyond, in terms of new product launches – which makes it different to G2E last year, when the goal was simply to ensure they’d have enough quantity of product to show the world.
Now, I think people are investing, and the difference is that we are getting a much more forward view of OEMs’ plans as we go through the year. They know there remain issues in the supply chain, along with the fact that they need to plan further ahead to make sure that they get what they need to launch their products for ICE and G2E in 2023.
We are sensing much more commitment to investment, much more commitment to NPD, and a real sense of enthusiasm from the market. The one thing that we have really noticed going into this year is that we’re having conversations with developers who were previously 100 per cent online, but are now looking at how they take their content land-based.
At G2E we met with developers needing help taking their games from the online space to land-based. Thankfully, we are well positioned to talk all things hardware, discuss all the regulations, and everything they need to think about to be able to get content from online to retail.
Is the industry in better shape heading into 2023?
On the supply side there remains the aforementioned nervous optimism. Having returned from Taiwan, there are specific problems that affect supply, particularly after Chinese New Year, in which factories in China lose around 11 per cent of their staff. Workers don’t come back after Chinese New Year, they just go do something else.
So that coupled with COVID, which is obviously still an issue in China, means there are still headwinds facing the supply of critical components from China. Throughout the ongoing supply issues, Quixant has chosen to invest its own resources into forward-buying those components, and we have committed to doing the same again this year.
We are forward planning our volumes for the year ahead and buying while we can. From a new product point of view, I think that the main difference this year is that we’re going to see a mass of new products at forthcoming exhibitions, be that online to land-based, or traditional manufacturing partners launching new cabinets and new titles. I think there will be a real impetus and a faster pace set this year. We are working with our customers now to make sure they receive the latest and greatest products so that they can display their content in the best light possible. It’s exciting times.
How important is the return of a fully-fledged ICE show next month?
We are thrilled to be back and our meeting diary is full. Our existing and potential customers are excited to see what we are showing in relations to our core offering. Quixant has made its name by creating great products that are gaming hardware platform based. The big thing for us, is making sure that we can demonstrate that – and so we now offer both Intel and AMD solutions, whereas before we were primarily AMD-focused.
AMD has decided to de-prioritise the gaming industry over the next decade, so we are launching our new range of Intel solutions at ICE, which is really exciting. We are also focusing hard on our cabinet solutions, which Quixant launched at G2E, allying our new cabinet solutions to our new software solution (which will also be launching at ICE).
We are looking forward to talking to companies, whether they are online and are looking to go land-based, or whether the pandemic has just changed their businesses to such an extent that they don’t want to worry about buying components for cabinets or screens or monitors or button decks – instead they prefer to outsource that to Quixant so they can focus on their content. Which is what we’re trying to achieve.
Are OEMs outsourcing part of the platform solution or the whole package? Which elements do you supply?
Currently we supply monitors, button decks and computers to the gaming industry. For the smaller game manufacturers, the pandemic changed the structure of their internal business. They have less internal resources to source components, so we offer the full cabinet solution, with all our gaming computers on board, as well as the monitors and the button deck.
Quixant provides everything ‘ready to go,’ so all they need to do is put their game onto the cabinet and they’re off. One of the products we are launching at ICE this year is a support structure that will help developers polish their games to ensure they’re the best they can possibly be. We have a team of software specialists who can optimise gaming content, make it look and perform optimally based on the hardware they equip. We are really keen to demonstrate and discuss this with visitors at ICE this year.
What goals has Quixant set for this year – how are you planning to achieve them – and what predictions do you have for 2023?
We’ve set ourselves a series of basic and more structured goals. This year we must ensure that we’re on top of all of the things that could go wrong relating to Covid or component shortages, which still haven’t gone away. And I think the big message that I want to convey is that Quixant is all over that.
Most important is that this will be our focus in 2023. However, we also have important goals centred upon working with developers on their cabinets; working to optimise their software and making the entire development process easier from their perspective.
In terms of the market and predictions for this year, I think we’ll look back at G2E in October at a market in a very different place. We are expecting that by mid-year we will be through most of the component issues, which means everyone can focus on what’s next, instead of what’s current, and I think we will see much more of that as we head through the year. Our overriding goal is to help people achieve their own goals in 2023.