Arcade Industry Finally Looking To Do Something About Poor Media Coverage

Shaggy May 25, 2007 0

If there is one thing the arcade industry has not been blessed with for a very long time, it’s the marketing gene. But according to the latest Stinger Report, that may be about to change. Thanks to some positive media coverage online through various websites and other online resources, morale is improving among industry associations as well as the realization that the arcade industry could use some decent PR.

From the Stringer Report Newsletter:

“On May 12th, two amusement trade associations will have to present a plan to their executive boards for the promotion of the industry. Both AMOA and AAMA have decided they should do something to reverse poor or non-existent coverage of this industry by the mainstream consumer media. But the train has left the station without them as Betson, IT, and various other industry elements create their own positive PR. In the meantime, the home game sector is doing its best in its latest efforts to co-opt the appeal of coin-op games.”

Of course it probably would have made sense to do this nearly a decade ago, but better late than never, right? Arcade Heroes is always ready to help in case anyone in the industry wants to get the word out about their product.

Continue on with the link below for more quotes, details and thoughts at the arcade industry looking to turn itself around.

More from the Stringer Report Newsletter:

“The idea of dressing the home game industry in amusement colors has been confusing across the Internet. Microsoft have tried the hardest to garner credibility with their ‘Xbox Live Arcade’, the download service that has attempted to dress itself in past classic Coin-op titles and borrow amusement nomenclature. Not to be outdone, the Nintendo Wii: Virtual Console has also embraced Classic Arcades and a raft of pseudo-coin-op titles; console industry execs seeing arcade-type credibility as a strong wallet opener for players.”

Confounding Google searches and news monitors, the Indies rock band ‘Arcade Fire’ offers an interesting dead-end for those surfing for their latest amusement news.”

This is something I have noticed for quite a long time now. Type in “arcade” into Google and it takes a while to get to anything coin-op arcade related. Most of it’s “arcade flash games”. After Xbox Live Arcade came out it complicated things further and now you have this rock band making the rounds. It certainly is confusing if you are looking for real arcade related news and info.

The report goes on to mention recent arcade coverage in magazines as well as through other mainstream news outlets such as Maximum Magazine, FOX News, GamesTM, MCV Magazine and HardCore Gamer Magazine. It even mentions a number of arcade-related blogs including Arcade Heroes as well as other arcade sites such as Highway Games, and others.

The coverage has been positive but the major problem I see here is that the arcade industry itself has done pretty much nothing to generate this coverage. They have sat around waiting for it to happen, akin to sitting around and waiting for the next Street Fighter 2 to come in and save the day. This is the problem though. You can’t sit there and wait for good things to happen to you if you want to be successful. You have to work at making it happen. But this is exactly the stance the entire industry has taken since the Video Game Crash of ’83. Before that they didn’t need to work hard to gain attention of the media, but times have changed and with it comes the need to adapt.

I really think that every sector of the arcade industry is to blame. I have seen plenty of bad examples as I have been working on starting my own arcade, which I hope to get going by the end of the summer. I have talked to many operators and they are some of the most pessimistic people you will talk to. Perhaps they do it to discourage me, but I see it online to. They believe more than anyone else that the arcade industry is dead. They just keep doing what they are doing because it’s all they know – as opposed to figuring out creative ways for changing things. They should make their demands known to arcade manufacturers. If they think the games are overpriced, they should make some noise about it. If they think that there is a shoddy variety of games, they should make some noise about it. Operators are the manufacturers primary clients before the people that play the games are, because if operators don’t own the games, then people won’t play them. Also they could use a bit of help in marketing as well. Many of them think that word-of-mouth advertising is the best way to go, yet they will complain that earnings aren’t enough right afterwards. When was the last time you saw an ad for a local arcade on TV, radio or the newspaper? If you want the public to retain your business in memory, they have to hear about it often and prominently, not just in passing from a friend every blue moon or so.

Manufacturers as well as game industry journalists also share some blame. They can’t rely on operators to do their advertising for them, yet they seldom attempt to get the word out about the very games they sell, beyond maybe a press release here and there. No video previews of their games at big sites like Gametrailers, practically no previews at any popular online gaming resource such as IGN or Gamespot. I have yet to see any video of Wasteland Racer 2071, despite the game being available for quite a while now. Screenshots for games are few and far between and screenshots help build hype. The fact that only two game magazines cover arcade games should tell you something about the situation – many have not covered arcades in much detail for years now. That is both the fault of the manufacturers and the journalists that are too lazy to cover anything that is not sent to them on a silver platter. Game sites don’t even bother to put an arcade section on their rows of game systems they cover. Of course many manufacturers have not been putting out much in the way of truly exciting games that catch headlines – sure we’ve seen hundreds of light-gun shooters, racers, bemani style games but it’s rare to see something fresh and original. On top of that the prices for the games are many times so outrageous that only the very big arcades can actually afford most of the hot games that people would love to play. Although I will admit that a couple of makers on the scene have had some fairly decent offers, such as GlobalVR and a few of their games. Although the new price tag on Paradise Lost is nothing to snuff at.

I could probably get into a lot more detail, but let’s see how things pan out. I am very happy to see some positive movement on the PR front, but it has to be effective and it has to be continual. This industry can shine again, but it’s not going to fall into our lap without a lot of work and dedication. Gamers need to know why it’s worth their while to get off the couch and go out and play. Many don’t even know how fun it can be to hand out at the arcade. It’s getting the message out that is important.
[Thanks to the The Stringer Report by Kevin Williams]

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