As normality begins to return for Britain’s retail gaming sector, Newark-based game developer and manufacturer Reflex Gaming has hit the ground running, topping the charts of a leading national data processor for its digital Cat C performance, with new content releases imminent. MD Quentin Stott explains all.
Early data from a leading national data processor shows Reflex Gaming topping the charts for digital Cat C content, with the game developer and manufacturer set to solidify its position with brand new game releases this month.
Managing director Quentin Stott told Coinslot that Reflex has been working hard to ensure existing machines have “the best content, the best connectivity, and the best tools available” to ensure that its operating partners can provide a first class service to the many pubs and hospitality venues that are finally seeing customers return. As initial performance figures from a slow but steady reopening emerge, Stott has been reassured that the company’s strategy is working, while also emphasising that it’s still too early to identify any lasting trends in the newly reopened market.
“Overall performance information of digital Cat C machines by manufacturer, provided by a leading national data processor, shows Reflex in pole position, so the market is responding well to our products,” noted Stott. “However, bearing in mind that machines have only been turned on again for two months and not all venues have been open, there have not been any particular game trends that I can share. What we do know is that some machines have performed out of their skin, whilst others have performed much more modestly. I feel that we are going to need a little more time and the removal of restrictions before traction can be measured properly.” As with many businesses across the retail sector, Reflex Gaming’s leadership has had to make some hard decisions during the last 16 months. However, as its name suggests, the company’s ethos has always been to remain agile, and this spirit has seen the game developer adapt to pandemic conditions, and even excel in markets that have not been devastated by lockdowns and restrictions.
“The impact of COVID-19 on businesses and the various lockdowns will reverberate for quite some time to come in the game manufacturing space, particularly as our sector was affected so badly and with little governmental support,” continued Stott. “We have, unfortunately, reduced the size of our workforce and are now dealing with a difficult supply chain. Over the past 16 months however, we have become better at allowing home or flexi-working for colleagues and managed to make significant commercial strides with our online game content strategy.”
Now that retail is reopening, Reflex’s aforementioned agility has allowed the company to make a quick comeback, with the team now preparing to exhibit at ACOS in October. Indeed, after 16 months of no physical shows to attend, Stott is ready to shelve the Zoom calls and get back to the regular face-to-face meetings that have made this industry such a tight-knit community. “Our game developers are working f lat out to regain the momentum we built up over the past few years with monthly Cat C digital game releases resuming from July,” he concluded. “We are relishing getting back to the exhibitions, and with ACOS now confirmed for 20th & 21st October, plans are already afoot for demonstrating our latest innovations.”
Charting a course for calmer seas
Wave after wave of lockdowns and restrictions has almost sunk the retail sector over the last 16 months, however Quentin Stott now sees clearer skies on the horizon – but will it be smooth sailing from here on out?
Coinslot: With Covid restrictions now lifting, we’re heading into the ‘new normal’. Still uncertain territory, what do you expect that new normal to look like for the industry and for its customer base?
Quentin Stott, managing director at Reflex Gaming: It really is uncertain territory but any positive step in lifting restrictions is a step in the right direction for the industry and its machine players. If venues do not have to employ social distancing measures and test and trace, then the flow of businesses can get back to something resembling pre-pandemic. I would still anticipate seeing face masks being worn in certain circumstances but bearing in mind where the industry has been for the past 16 months, that is bearable in my opinion.
CS: Restrictions lifting will provide a massive boost for pubs. How do you see the pub and hospitality sector recovering over the next year and what will Reflex be working on to support this?
QS: I think good hospitality venues will make a strong recovery and this will lead to players reengaging with machines on site. However, I think due to the summer season being upon us, it will be September or October before we get a full measure of just how stable the market has become and the last thing we need is to be faced with the reimposition of any restrictions. Reflex has been leading the market with on machine social responsibility initiatives and alternative payment methods, both of which will assist pubs and hospitality in a sustainable recovery.
CS: There’s still a lot of concerns around the industry for the next year or two especially over inflation, shipping supplies and the pace of recovery, looking at the Reflex business in general, where are the growth areas and are there markets still to open up?
QS: All the challenges you have mentioned are totally valid, and each poses an individual risk, but the combined could make for a very bumpy ride ahead. Growth opportunities for Reflex lie in the fact that we are serving a large customer base with top performing products and have a relatively modest overall market share. Some of the larger incumbent machine brands maintain a strategy of one flavor of product for multi-machine venues, and this, in my opinion, represents a significant opportunity for Reflex to grow.