It’s been a little while since I did an update on how my arcade, The Game Grid Arcade, is going and I’ve had a few people ask about it so here we go.
We finally got a sign put up a week ago, something that should have been completed two months ago when we opened but was delayed due to waiting on approval from the mall, the city along with production and a few other things. It certainly hasn’t helped that I didn’t have such visibility until now but I’m glad it’s finally taken care of. Unfortunately it is already falling apart, one of the buttons that was on the box broke off and disappeared over the past weekend, which I am not happy about. They are supposed to get it fixed, but I have to wait, yet again.
Another thing that hasn’t helped is the fact that our air conditioning has not worked since we opened so basically we’ve gone the entire summer without AC. I have been fighting to get it fixed and fortunately I am not going to pay for the repairs but that has meant that I have had to sit and wait and watch people go out the door when it’s sometimes hotter inside than it is out. It also has made it uncomfortable to be there all day but also about a week ago that was finally fixed after the entire unit was replaced. That certainly has helped make it pleasant to be inside for once.
I have had some great regulars that come in just about every day and part of that is due to the PC LAN. But it is working out like I planned – they play both the PCs and the arcades and in some cases they have been exposed to arcade titles that they never would have cared about otherwise.
Hit the post break for my musing on game earnings, games breaking, marketing, school starting and what to do next.
Game earnings are interesting as every week it seems that I have a new game which makes more than others. I have been surprised by the fact that Indiana Jones has been the best earning game for three different weeks, although this past week it was beat out by Shrek and several other games. Getting Street Fighter II was a good move – this past week it made more than KOF98 and Marvel VS. Capcom combined. Tokyo Drift has been pretty consistent in it’s earnings without much fluctuation. While Movie Stop is generally ‘expected’ to do well since it’s redemption, there have been weeks where it killed and weeks where it did terrible. It just really depends on what people want to play when they come in and what they are a fan of. Unfortunately my House of the Dead 4 is out of commission – the screen just does not want to stay on and according to Sega it’s the lamp which when I checked is only going to cost me $509 to replace (unless there is an alternative out there). I am thinking that it could be a power issue though so I will work on getting that checked first. I have quickly learned that if there is one place that gets your pocket book is the parts side of the arcade industry as many times parts that should be two to three times less are jacked up. I’m sure some won’t be happy I said that but it’s true. I’m also waiting on parts to get my T-Mek completely fixed, a lot of people have been interested in that one so I can hardly wait to get it fully up and running but at least one side works for now. I also am going to try an experiment with mt Carnevil – I have purchased a CF-to-IDE adapter to I can replace the hard drive with a Compact Flash card which should be far more reliable than a 10 year old HDD. I’ll let you all know how that turns out, if it works I’ll have to do it for my Gauntlet as well. Also one of my Tokyo Drifts has been having issues – one day last week it just started crashing everytime it got to one certain point in the attract mode. I restored the machine and it had been fine until today where it crashed once during a game. It hasn’t crashed again but I’m wondering if it’s going to keep being a problem. At least it’s only one of the two that is doing this.
As far as marketing goes, Facebook has been working out OK and brought a few people in; I am still waiting on my flyers and my Pizza Hut coupon book to arrive and start making an effect which I am sure will do well. I am not happy about the Pizza Hut book – that advertising was supposed to start running a couple of weeks ago but it has yet to show up. I have called Pizza Hut’s marketing dept. and contacted the ad agency who set the whole thing up and it’s going to be ‘resolved’. We’ll see. School started in most areas this past week and I have certainly felt it – this week has been very slow, especially compared to last week. While I am targeting an audience that is a little older, most of my regulars have been teenagers, with a few exceptions. Of course Utah has a huge youth population so it’s natural that most of my customers will come from that group. I also am thankful for a brief mention I got on Kotaku a week or two ago and for a little coverage I got from the excellent site Arcade Finder (which has grown quite well since it started). Next thing I need to do is join the local Chamber of Commerce and continue to have competitions. We had a CoD4 competition a couple of weeks ago where we just awarded extra hours on the LAN and it was a huge success that brought a lot of people in, we’re going to hold an Indiana Jones competition tomorrow and the week after that I am thinking of CoD4 again since it is quite popular.
So that’s where we’re at right now, it’s been a bumpy ride so far but I think that it will continue to grow but I can’t help but feel anxious with the slowdown that has hit with school starting. I have someone willing to invest an additional $10k into my business and I am taking that under serious consideration but it’s hard to decide what to do with it – buy more PCs, buy something big like SFIV or hold out to use it for rent payments? As irritated as I am with how SFIV has been handled I cannot ignore it’s popularity but at the same time I don’t know that $10k will cover that. I also have come across a deal on a Tsunami Motion cabinet for a killer price that I thought I had missed out on but it hadn’t sold yet. There is also a DDR game that just arrived at my distributor but in addition to being expensive, it was one of the worst earning games at the location it just came out of (it was an Extreme + version, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it).