Reflex has operator backing for Pub Retail entry
Reflex Gaming is poised to make an entry into the pubretail sector with reel-based product, thanks to the support of a number of forward-thinking operators and retailers.
These are exciting times for Reflex, which has recently expanded both its workforce and its premises in Newark, doubling the number of software engineers and quadrupling the number of game testers and adding 2000 square feet of space. The team is further strengthened by the addition of Surj Stott formerly of Mazooma Games to a customer liaison role. Last and not least, Christine has joined the company as cleaner and tea lady!
The move into the retail sector with reel-based product comes in response to recent developments in the UK market, which has seen Bell-Fruit Games as the sole supplier of any size in the sector.
“We have had a lot of conversations with operators and retailers about supplying product into the sector but quite frankly we thought it was too risky until now,” says Managing Director Quentin Stott. “The system has traditionally been stacked against manufacturers entering due to the prohibitive testing which was risky, expensive and often prohibitive. We had no incentive to put forward machines to be tested, only to have to pick them up – often in bad condition at our own expense – if they did not perform to satisfaction.”
Quentin and his partner Simon Dawson threw down the gauntlet to the many customers who were urging their entry into the market. “We told customers that we would consider developing reel-based product for this sector if they would commit to buying a minimum number of machines to make it worth our while.”
Now there are around 10 forward-thinking operators who have supported Quent and Simon’s entry into the high-tech retail market and they are being backed in turn by sympathetic retailers. “I have to take my hat off to those who have put their money where their mouths are,” says Quent. “It is only by rewriting some of the old rules that we will be able to take the industry forward.”
Reflex Gaming now has four times the amount of product going through its factory and two further manufacturing bases. It is also poised to make an entry into the online sector and is developing for iPhone iPad and android applications. “We have recently taken on software engineer to develop for these markets and we are going to use tried and tested games that have performed on traditional sites. In the old days people move games from bricks to clicks” environments but now most are just developing specifically for online. We feel there is a gap in the market,” says Simon.
Other product lines are being developed as a result of close collaboration with operators and this includes an exciting digital compendium product that will be unveiled soon. Reflex has even found the time to create a conversion kit for the estimated 13,000 Paragon cabinets that are currently on site in the UK and which operators may want to convert into AWPs following the inclusion of SWP products into the Machine Games Duty.
In addition, Reflex has managed to find the time to develop its own operating system on which to publish games. Named “Slingshot” (because it will not only catch up but overtake others on the market) it forms the basis of new game development for all sectors, including online.
“We felt we needed our own operating system in order to be able to compete,” says Quent. “There simply isn’t enough money to be made these days in creating games for someone else’s platform. You just end up getting the crumbs from the table.”
Instead, Slingshot allows Reflex Gaming to stand shoulder to shoulder with even the biggest manufacturing companies in terms of development. “We foresee a time when we will be able to download games directly to compendium terminals in the same way that others are already doing,” says Simon. “For now Slingshot is already performing very well at the heart of over a thousand machines on site and it will allow us to stay constantly ahead of the competition going forward.”
As a result of the many new developments coming from Reflex and its sister company Aardvark, Quent and Simon have decided to take a stand at the ICE show in London next year. “We will still be represented at EAG through our distributors, but we feel that ICE reflects some of the new directions we are taking the company in,” explains Quent.
Reflex Gaming is an example of a company that has been flexible enough to come through the recession and embrace the opportunities that still exist in the industry. “I can’t pretend we didn’t have it tough too. There were weeks when we were only producing a handful of machines,” admits Quent. “But by talking to like-minded companies and forward-thinking customers and making the most of the opportunities that have emerged due to industry rationalization, we have emerged stronger.”
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