Abhinay Bhagavatula, Chief Technology Officer, Quixant
The COVID 19 pandemic has massively impacted us all both personally and professionally. The gaming industry has been affected in a significant way, and within a matter of weeks of the breakout, the industry went from record-breaking growth to complete shutdown. It’s fair to say that the industry has never faced a bigger challenge.
As we look optimistically to 2021, and beyond, there’s finally light at the end of the very long COVID-related tunnel. A return to social and economic normalcy depends on the successful rollout of an effective coronavirus vaccine; a prospect that at last feels attainable.
The gaming industry has proven time and time again to be resilient and adaptable, with our communities being versatile, and willing, and able to rally together to come out stronger at the other side. I’m certain the same will be true over the coming months as the industry looks to the future and gradually reopens for business across the globe.
Life has changed considerably in the past year and with continued efforts to contain the virus, change is likely to persist. Like everyone, we just want this to be over and know it’s now only a matter of time. At Quixant, we’re excited for the year ahead as we prepare to deliver plans to support the developing needs of this great industry as it comes back to life.
COLLABORATION AND INNOVATION
As we analyse markets across the globe, some are operating close to pre-COVID levels, whilst many are required to be partially or fully closed. One thing that is consistent across the board is that when open, casinos and gaming venues have taken the utmost care to keep players and staff safe and protected, operating innovatively and creatively, swiftly introducing plans such as social-distancing measures, revised floor plans, new contactless technologies, and cashless payments.
Since March 2020 when the first lockdowns were enforced, the North American gaming revenues, for example, have since shown encouraging growth, with almost 85 per cent of slots now operational. As we look to a more positive future, with more and more venues welcoming their customers back, I believe that collaboration across the entire supply chain of game manufacture and production is key.
Now is the time to look at how shared best practices across suppliers, partners and manufacturers can deliver the best gaming experiences for the returning customer. Open, trusting, and collaborative relationships are what will drive the best outcomes for everyone.
Combining the best technical solutions, with collaborative and streamlined supply chains and innovative financial solutions will best serve the needs of the market in the next three to six months and beyond.
At Quixant we are working across our customer base to make our joint supply chains as effective as they possibly can be, and we are also looking at creative commercial options that enable customers to get to market faster and more cost- effectively so that everyone wins.
The bottom-line? Think big, start small, move fast!
While many industries have been impacted by the economic slowdown, it’s also led to the growth of some. The requirements of remote working have increased demand in the desktop, networking, and server segments, with the Integrated Circuit (IC) market experiencing huge demand and disruption, which in turn has created supply chain challenges for the gaming industry.
The most notable impact has been AMD’s decision to exit the gaming market, who, along with Intel have been technology leaders in the space for many years. Their sudden departure will have a longer-term impact on the gaming sector; as our industry focuses on reopening and driving demand, game manufacturers now additionally need to explore alternative options to migrate their platforms to. AMD’s decision will likely encourage new and innovative thinkers to enter the industry and offer new solutions, with the objective to continually deliver consumer experience excellence.
Quixant believes that this challenge offers a wonderful opportunity. We have reacted to the AMD news by looking to offer our customers choice across the graphics solutions, all within our current trusted technology platform and overall gaming hardware and software suite. Over 2021 our solutions will offer the choice of AMD and Intel solutions to ensure our customers operate the way that they want. Quixant wants to make sure that our customers focus on creating the best games, rather than hardware life cycles.
As the situation continuously evolves, and further change is likely on the horizon, everyone is looking to what the future holds. But what if life never fully returns as we knew it? Or more optimistically—what if the world comes out in a better place?
Before COVID, rapid advances in technology, innovation to content delivery and high- performing graphics were pushing the boundaries of what embedded platforms needed to deliver to support game developers.
We believe that collaboration is now even more essential to developing and delivering the best gaming experiences. Our exclusive focus on the gaming sector means our teams are dedicated to serving the needs of gaming manufacturers.
We collaborate with suppliers and gaming manufacturers to partner market-led cutting- edge innovation, new gaming capabilities, and best in class hardware and software with in- house expertise, to enable our customers to get to market faster without technology constraints. This close partnership with our customers and suppliers enables Quixant to continuously drive innovation and guides our future product roadmaps to develop solutions that effectively meet the needs of the industry.
We believe there are three key considerations to prepare for future success in these turbulent and ever-changing times:
(1) Review your technology needs
What will the future needs of your technology suite be in the months and years to come? Do you have the right combination of in-house expertise and suitable platforms to build your content on, combined with game-changing software that drives your performance to the next level? Are there opportunities to outsource elements of your process to identify efficiencies?
There has never been a bigger need for this across the industry. With global demand picking up and further gaming legislation being regulated across markets, standardising your platforms gives you consistency across markets, whilst at the same time simplifying your global supply chain; delivering operational efficiencies; controlling costs and getting new games to market in record times.
(3) Ease of integration and turnkey opportunities
Resource challenges and supply chain issues threaten the timing and delivery of gaming manufacturers’ product development; integration; and go-to-market strategies.
Quixant delivers ‘turnkey’ solutions that help expedite the process, coupling the most innovative hardware and software with new and creative commercial models, with an end-to- end cost-effective solution. This means that our partners can concentrate on developing the best game content and player experiences.
Whatever your approach to future-proof your business, as we look ahead, it’s clear that there are endless opportunities to drive innovation in this new world and technology should be the ‘super enabler’ that drives the future of gaming experiences.
Abhinay Bhagavatula is a leader in the gaming technology world, who has 20+ years of product and technology experience. Abhinay joined Quixant in 2019, and as Chief Technology Officer guides product development and strategy to meet the needs of the gaming industry.
Prior to this, Abhinay has worked in product and commercial leadership roles with top-tier gaming companies such as WMS Gaming, a division of Scientific Games, and Aristocrat gaming where he was instrumental in the execution and rollout of new product strategy to global gaming markets.