Namco considering location testing Tekken Tag 2 in the US

arcadehero August 30, 2011 11

(Thanks to ArcadeBelgium for retweeting this!)

In an answer to a question from a fan today, Tekken producer Harada gave us some arcade news to talk about. The latest Tekken coming to market, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be released in Japan on the 14th of September but so far, there has been no news to speak of on when (and if) it might show up in other territories with a translation. The question was “Will there be a U.S. arcade release for TTT2?”. The answer:

We are considering now. Location Test = at October in LA, TX, NY (Probably). RT @HiRisk808 will there be a U.S. arcade release for TTT2?

Guessing where they might loctest given these locations: Round 1 for LA, Arcade UFO for Texas and Next Level Arcade in NY. Just an educated guess, given the support those locations offer for games like this. As for the setup, who knows if they’ll stick with the Versus style (1 cabinet per player) or do something a little more suited to most American arcades of 2p per cabinet. I could see it going both ways in a deluxe and standard setup, as I’m sure that places like I mentioned for the loctesting would prefer multiple units, while others would prefer just one. Tekken 6 was released in the US in very limited quantities as a 2p unit but it’s hindrance more than anything else was the price tag (between $14k-$16k). Hopefully improvements can be made on that front as well, in addition to giving operators who jump in enough time to make the money back. At least October is a short time away so we’ll know soon enough if Namco will take the plunge or not.

Oh and in related fighter news, if you’ve ever wondered where the whole “Toasty!” thing came from in Mortal Kombat, here’s your explanation.


11 Comments »

  1. Arcades4ever August 30, 2011 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Yessssssss yeeeeeaahh!!!!!!!!! Make it happen namco we could do with some contemporary arcade joystick games. Fighting games are always popular but somehow games like tekken perform much better that on consoles I think personally because they see that game is on they’ll want to go play it and especially hardcore player since they’d rather play games like call of duty than tekken as I think theres more depth. But a game like tekken is fun, simple but hard to master and great for playing in short bursts and rewarding you by playing longer if you’re a great fighter 😀

  2. editor August 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Has the amusement trade in the US become so complacent that they only want to support the safe-familiar-easy titles/genres?

    Yes TTT2 will need software re-development (English translation and removal of ALL.NET features), and yes the Noir Cabinet is not familiar/popular for safe accounts – but remember how different PONG was for those operators in the 70’s who only wated pinball!

    Come on Namco! And no biased (manipulated) testing numbers!

    • Sam August 31, 2011 at 9:07 am - Reply

      “And no biased (manipulated) testing numbers!”

      ???

      Please explain.

    • Halfmachine August 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      The question should be “why aren’t manufacturers releasing AFFORDABLY PRICED product that clearly has demand?” (as an operator you know it when players ask for games like SF4/Tek Tag 2).
      Take Capcom & SF4 for example. Runs on basically standard PC hardware so why isn’t it affordable, or even widely available as a kit in the US/worldwide market? (Sometimes I wonder if these companies even care about making money!)
      I hope Namco is more reasonable than Capcom with Tek Tag 2.

      The development/translation issue that you talk about isn’t a major one as there will be a US console release so the work will be done anyway, making the arcade language translation issue irrelevant. The source code probably has a simple #define in the source code that can be modified to disable the networking aspect. So IMO only minor changes may need to be made for the arcade release. But companies like to use any excuse to inflate the amount of work that they supposedly do to justify the excessively high prices that they charge operators…

      Kevin.

      • editor September 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm - Reply

        @Halfmachine – As a specialist in the DOE sector I am against the premise of this argument – I think if you can not afford the prices in the shop… your are in the wrong shop! No matter that you use to come to this shop all the time – the prices have gone up and the cliental has changed too, and that means you have to change as well.

        Moving from this analogy before I completely break it – I see that the out-of-home entertainment sector needs a complete rethink regarding machine operation. The Pay-to-Play model is working at high-end facilities, and special hospitality sites, but is sucking in the traditional heartland. There are some operators that are thinking of abandoning video amusement completely as they feel the model is broken for them – and you know they may be right.

        This has become a highly sophisticated market – far beyond the business skills and abilities of the traditional amusement operator. This will be hard on some, but the reality is that the traditional video amusement market has moved on – we are in the immersive entertainment scene and that means the black coffin uprights are not the core business. We can not depend on kits as games like SSFIV only works in a special cabinet and a connected NESYS architecture (so asking for a cut down version of the game, is like removing the doors, engine and wheels from a Ferrari just so you can afford it! Then wondering why it dose not work!).

        I would also get our nose out of telling R&D in Japan on how to make cheaper games – I don’t think we have enough knowledge on the real market to advise anyone – the GameWorks example is what I give to anyone who thinks they have a model that works.

        Rather than creating “affordable” videos, we need to be creating money making dedicated systems (Mid-Scale Attractions)! PONG was not cheap when it came out – and most of the ex-pinball excutives thought it too expensive and people would just nick its TV before the coin-boxs exploded!

        This also means stopping the industry being driven by veterans with vested interests to keep the amusement trade the way it has always been like, for an easy life! Yes selling Tekken6 is hard, and needs support from ALL.NET – yes you will have to think outside of your rolodex of traditional safe clients – but hey just think on the profits if you do place these machines and share the revenue!

        Working in amusement is not a guarantee for a job and position for life and a cosy golfing retirement!

        @Sam – I was alluding to the situation we had with Tekken6 where sales staff ‘massaged’ the revenue number of the Noir cabinets on test (especially at Funland) in order to prove their vested argument against taking a risk on importing the machine.

        As I said to Haldmachine – I agree that expensive Japanese imports are uneconomic for the majority of sales accounts in the traditional amusement business – but these machines are also promotion systems and should be treated so. Like Capcom using their amusement cabs as promotional tools.

        I will get off my soap box now!

        • Halfmachine September 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm -

          “I think if you can not afford the prices in the shop… your are in the wrong shop! No matter that you use to come to this shop all the time – the prices have gone up and the cliental has changed too, and that means you have to change as well.”

          This is a completely different argument to the one I am making – I’m saying that players ARE interested in games like SF4 and TTT2 and will pay reasonable (and note the word “reasonable”) prices to play them on the traditional pay-per-play arcade model… but in order to do this the operator price for these games must be reasonable and realistic!

          You seem to be saying that manufacturers should set pricing to whatever arbitrary number they decide and operators should just go ahead and pay whatever they ask? (Despite the relatively cheap PC hardware base that games use nowadays)
          Don’t forget that while manufacturers often have the flexibility of raising prices the player point of view is different – you CAN’T get away with charging the player whatever you want IMO, especially with a $60 consumer console title as an option for players!

          I agree with you regarding the traditional “upright” video market being soft… but at the same time high profile games like SF4/TTT2 could work for the arcade market if given the chance and priced right. The glory days of the 80s will never return but that doesn’t mean we should give up on video entirely.
          When your customers (players) are asking for games that don’t have an arcade release (or are available in limited quantity/distribution) that seems to indicate to me that there is still some demand out there for them.

          “I would also get our nose out of telling R&D in Japan on how to make cheaper games – I don’t think we have enough knowledge on the real market to advise anyone”

          Why? Manufacturers need feedback from operators regarding what works and what earns in the real world. You mentioned in your original post about “inflated earnings” regarding location tests, which is an example of “limited test” vs “real world” feedback…

          “This also means stopping the industry being driven by veterans with vested interests to keep the amusement trade the way it has always been like, for an easy life! ”

          I will state here that I have no vested interest to keep the amusement industry the way it is. And trust me, after over 2 decades in the business I can tell you the realities of business are often anything but easy!

          “I agree that expensive Japanese imports are uneconomic for the majority of sales accounts in the traditional amusement business – but these machines are also promotion systems and should be treated so.”

          Promotion for who? Manufacturers maybe, for the upcoming console release! ‘Cause it sure seems that way to me!

          Kevin.

        • editor September 2, 2011 at 10:39 am -

          ““I’m saying that players ARE interested in games like SF4 and TTT2 and will pay reasonable (and note the word “reasonable”) prices to play them on the ***traditional*** pay-per-play arcade model… but in order to do this the operator price for these games must be reasonable and realistic!””

          -This seems to underline my point – we need to avoid the ‘traditional’ model. I know you can get players in some areas to pay the traditional amount for the traditional game – but to be frank placing eight Noir cabinets in a themed environment with a active ALL.NET system is what the players would love, but would be unaffordable for the traditional model. And just one Noir kit is like a band-aid for a broken leg. All or nothing!

          ””You seem to be saying that manufacturers should set pricing to whatever arbitrary number they decide and operators should just go ahead and pay whatever they ask? (Despite the relatively cheap PC hardware base that games use nowadays)””

          -I think that you may have mistaken my meaning – I do not want manufacturers turning out the same old dross and just hiking up the price – that is what we have at the moment. You are right, why Taito thinks they can charge a Kings Ransom for the TypeX2+ is beyond me! I know that now their hardware has been cracked they are concerned that the game is up and are looking at a new system.

          Yes, fundamentally the current crop of Namco, Taito and SEGA hardware’s are enhanced PC’s – but the amusement system should be more than a PC in a fancy box. Just look at ‘Let’s Go Island 3D’ – the systems mounted guns, pneumatic blasts and glasses-free 3D make it a strong stand-alone piece and closer to value for money – though it is still not cheap by any means (definitely not traditional).

          Something you will see a lot of in the future – a lot of Japanese developers are looking at large scale enclosures – not just the Theater Cabinet, but also the need for a group of connected machines and a central server controlling them (the new ‘Maximum Tune 4’ a case in point – to be launched at JAMMA’11 – or the TT2 layout).

          ““Manufacturers need feedback from operators regarding what works and what earns in the real world.””

          -Are you the “real world”? The majority of US operators are unable to advise Japanese amusement manufacturers on the real market as most depend on the distributor for their buying decisions – only a small number of sites (located round Los Angeles and Chicago) give reliable test location feedback (experimenting with new types of systems with their audience).

          I always remember the report from GameWorks (Chicago) to SEGA USA that they loved the ‘Quest Of D’ satellite system they had on test with record revenues and needed more cards! No way was SEGA US sales going to tell their Japanese counterpart about this because the majority of their traditional sales would never have been able to take the machine at the price. A missed opportunity for a new approach, forced down by the traditional route business – a factor why so many distributors are so scared of the e-commence new approach to amusement sales!

          ““Promotion for who? Manufacturers maybe, for the upcoming console release! ‘Cause it sure seems that way to me!””

          -Yes, using amusement as a promotion tool is only helping the manufacturer and his next home release. The issue is that I see amusement as a two way street – we can use amusement as promotion of consumer, also the promotion of brand and as a stand alone revenue generator. Just thin about a promotion system like SSFIV where Capcom pays you to place the machine!!!

          I keep saying that the revenue generating capability for amusement machines is dead wrong at the moment – the need for revenue generation model that borrows from the cinema, and online game sector is essential. Look at Golden Tee Golf – the online prize and player static element is essential to the platforms success – a feature that all of the modern Japanese releases have… until it is ripped out by the US sales team.

          This may be a mute point anyway – I know of two Japanese factories that have decided to abandon the US distribution model and go for direct sales and the establishment of the online ‘connected’ element they have in Japan in the US. Not because they expect to sell hundreds of machines, but because if they get in first they could start to sell a lot of their Japanese systems in the US without the hassle of conflicted distribution/operating executives mentality.

          That’s more than enough!

  3. Eddierizzle September 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Why is Arcade UFO mentioned as a location test place in this article and not Planet Zero? Houston has way more pro Tekken players than what Austin has so it makes more sense to bring a location test to Houston and not Austin.

  4. Halfmachine September 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    “This seems to underline my point – we need to avoid the ‘traditional’ model.”

    I’m not against trying new ideas or equipment but in this SPECIFIC case (i.e. SF4) that I’m talking about the ONLY thing wrong with the traditional model is the NON-TRADITIONAL price of the equipment! If SF4 was offered in a standard “2 player versus” kit (none of this 1 player per cab nonsense so you need to buy double the kits) AND priced “traditionally” AND widely available then there would be nothing wrong with the “traditional” model here. You keeping saying “traditional” doesn’t work and that operators should change, but is it really the operator’s fault that SF4 wasn’t priced “traditionally”?

    “Are you the “real world”? The majority of US operators are unable to advise Japanese amusement manufacturers on the real market as most depend on the distributor for their buying decisions”

    The thing is, if there is a “disconnect” between manufacturers (who generally have their hands full designing/manufacturing equipment) and the operators who generally are closest to the actual players and get feedback/observe them (apart from observing the earnings firsthand) then equipment produced may not be as appealing or profitable as can be. This is apart from the cultural differences issue between Japan & the US.

    But apart from the focus on the player and resulting product there is one thing that there is not enough of – “real world” operator feedback regarding technical issues and reliability. If I had a dollar every time I had to fix a problem on a BRAND NEW GAME I could have retired long ago!

    Kevin.

  5. editor September 4, 2011 at 11:10 am - Reply

    You will always have to fix new machines – amusement prices made in 10’s are never going to be reliable as units mad in 1,000’s!

    Regarding TT2 or SSFIV – this is nothing traditional about its correct operation. The cabinet (Noir / VIEWLIX style sit-down cab) are not standard in any traditional amusement hall – other than one that has gone out on a limb and purchased some unofficial-imports (remember the only official release of this style of cab was T6 and they were not JP specifications).

    Atarian is the best person to tell you how difficult it is to take an unofficial-import unit into a US sit-down cab (SSFIV) – the VIEWLIX cab [JP specs] is another matter – no traditional US amusement site runs a dedicated connection to support ALL.Net or NESYS… but there are NEW [non-traditional] operators entering the market that DO! (Check out RoundOne facility in CA – then tell me why no other ‘Traditional’ operator consider doing this?)

    The disconnect is a little more political than you paint it – it is too simplistic to just think that the JP factory would be able to listen to a operators – especially one that uses other manufacturers product as well as their own – they are incredibly territorial. Even GameWorks had problems with SEGA-JP over operating certain Namco titles!

    The situation is that JP receives reports from their GM’s at the US division – and expect them to be accurate. The GM collects his information from his sales and their forcasts – and also from the development team. Over the years the executives have been cut back – and with that their experience – so we have a situation where non-playing/operating sales executives are directing R&D decisions – and are very territorial.

    I speak with some experience – I consulted directly with one JP factory, and the US sales executive went mad trying to undermine the information I was giving his boss – finally when he was caught in a lie he baled adding to the mistrust that some JP executives have on the abilities of the US trade gene pool! So how can they trust the information that would be passed on (would you put the future of your corporation on information from an operator who has a private distribution agreement with your competitor?)

    • Halfmachine September 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      “You will always have to fix new machines – amusement prices made in 10’s are never going to be reliable as units mad in 1,000’s!”

      Sorry for the late reply, was fixing some games LOL

      But seriously a big problem with the industry is reflected in the thinking behind your above quote.
      When EVERYONE accepts that equipment is poorly designed or built and that’s par for the course and people just sigh and accept it – that’s a sign that something is really fundamentally wrong with this industry.
      And to be quite frank it doesn’t matter if games are produced in low or high quantities. If it doesn’t work straight from the factory why I am paying full price for finishing what the factory should have done?
      When this happens I ALWAYS give feedback to the relevant manufacturer so they are aware of the problem and can take steps to ensure better QA (often it takes more time to document than fix!). But you’d be surprised at how many well known companies in this industry don’t really care once product has been shipped out and paid for…

      Kevin.

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