(Thanks to everyone that sent this in)
I don’t have a lot that I think I can add to this article entitled “Running An Arcade in 2015” over at Polygon.com – just that it fairly covers the venues as a small window into what it is like to operate an arcade in this day and age. Along those lines is this post I put up last year showing how busy venues could get in 2014. For 2015 at my own arcade and at least one other traditional arcade I know of in Florida (Arcade Odyssey), business has been really good this Summer.
It does only take a tiny sampling of the market at large although it is more than some other articles I have read. As I have often pointed out here on AH, companies like Raw Thrills (one of the few companies in this industry that has released sales numbers at some point) didn’t sell 2000+ H2Overdrives, 2000+ Guitar Hero Arcades or the Big Buck Hunter games consistently selling in the multiple thousands to a “dead industry” or one or two chains of arcades (Dave & Busters right now is approaching 80 locations; Chuck E. Cheeses has around 500 so even the two combined would have to purchase 2 units for each location to cover half of some of those sales, which CEC would not have done).
It does mostly miss one unsung aspect of the industry that is actually a huge part of it – operators (businesses that don’t own the store front, just the games that they will put into a venue). The article mentions something that an operator does but he is a partner to the bar/arcade owner (revenue sharing) but there are a lot of operators out there which make up a huge part of getting new games out there. They just don’t all advertise/market very often and thus can be hard to track down and aren’t as publicly visible. There are exceptions to that of course, my podcast partner at All Castle Games has been doing a lot of social media in recent times.
Anyways, I am glad to see an article which did more than usual when it comes to investigating the industry. As they mention, chances of getting rich off this endeavor are slim – such is the case with any business really. Some struggle, some thrive, some reach a certain point and coast on that. The same can be said for any genre of business really. Still, it can’t be said enough that arcades are alive and in some instances thriving. It just takes the right mix of factors with a good leader at the front to make it happen.
What are your thoughts on this article?