Article: Will 2009 be the year of the arcade?

Shaggy December 13, 2008 0


When this decade started, things weren’t looking terribly rosy for arcades. But they have held on thanks to a few companies sweating it out and continuing to bring us games; that and some lcoations have remained dedicated to their palyer base, importing if they had to and providing something that players would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. While I still think that we have a ways to go, from recent news of different game releases and a number of new locations popping up all over the place (whether they are FEC or not), I think that 2009 is going to be a fine year for arcades overall, especially if the games we saw at IAAPA live up to providing a fun and exciting experience.

UK gadget website T3 has just released an article that takes an overall look at arcades and with ATEI coming up with the promise off showing off even more arcade releases for ’09. The article is very optimistic, which contrasts starkly with the standard ‘arcades-are-dead’ fare. They discuss many of the new releases that are expected to make an impact on the scene and they will also be attending ATEI and providing some coverage of the event there for more people to see.  Of interest in that article, we find our friend Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report making an interesting revelation:

The Stinger Report man teases T3 with talk of “a brand new concept in game platforms for public space in 2009” debuting at ATEI, “with the first ‘Game Gate UV’ cabinets on display that bring consumer gaming into a Pay-for-Time package.”
He adds that a number of major arcade players “have signed up to support a machine, which opens a brand new chapter in the amusement industries history.”

So has someone finally managed to create something like the Xbox 360 powered T2 arcade machine without all of arcadepic_4_w500those legal troubles? It sure looks like it (as you can see it pictured to the right there) but we’ll have to wait until next month to see what it is all about. If several arcade companies are part of the deal that is also very interesting news and it should be cool to see how it all pans out.

[Article: Will 2009 be the year of the arcade – T3] [Discuss on the Forum]

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  1. Molloy December 13, 2008 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Console graphics are so close to arcade graphics this generation I don’t see why we don’t have some current gen equivalent of the Naomi. The big three just don’t seem to have any interest in arcades, or see how they can fit into their new casual game audience strategies. If they launched a Xbox 360 board with Geometry Wars and a few updated classics I’m sure the smaller developers would flock to the platform. These PC based architectures are too expensive (although, maybe the way PC hardware is going they’ll be very cheap in a few more years).

    Pay per time machines don’t strike me as something that will actually take off. It was a different story with something like the Nintendo Playchoice. You could play Mario 3 for 10 minutes and get most of the way through the game. If you play Halo 3 for 10 minutes you’d be lucky to be half way through the first level. Console games are a totally different animal from arcade games now.

  2. Editor December 13, 2008 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Dear Molloy,

    Nice points and well presented.

    Consoles in Arcade – The big three are involved in arcade variants. Sony has their Namco/Sega supported System 537 hardware. And Nintendo has invested in a number of arcade projects such as the TriForce and the new T&C board. You have to look at the Taito TypeX as the new Naomi. PC is our future – console will be set at current limits of performance till 2011, arcade can now use the latest and fast CGi – I think you will hear the complaints about arcade images get louder as the images get better and use some of the new HD/3D displays.

    Opportunity for Pay per Time – Your comments here are a little off beam, I agree if the main play of this system was as a single player system the game narrative/play is limited, but the main point of this system is to offer tournament and network gaming in public space (like a Internet terminal) and offers a big opportunity. I will be able to say more in January.

  3. Molloy December 15, 2008 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    The issue I’m making is that Type X is not quite a new Naomi. It’s much more expensive to develop for which accounts for why G.Rev, Triangle Service, Milestone and the other small shmup developers were slow to move to it from the Naomi.

    At one point we had what I would call a healthy tiered system. Naomi 1 for cheaper games. Naomi 2 for expensive ones.

    The Naomi didn’t get replaced (except by the Atomiswave.. which was really just a Naomi again) but the Naomi 2 did with the Type X and Lindberg.

    I know Nintendo and Sony have boards based on consoles out there. But they didn’t ever get a big library or massive installed base like the Naomi 1. Developers are still doing cheap GD-Rom releases cos they know there are thousands of Naomi 1 kits out there.

  4. Molloy December 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Here’s an interview from a few years back that goes into this in more detail. Now maybe the Type X has gotten much cheaper in the interim. PC’s are starting to get as cheap if not cheaper than consoles.

  5. Editor December 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Right, I understand the direction you are coming from.

    The need for a cost-effective AM platform is an issue for the smaller studios and I agree the current TypeX is not it. But to be honest do we need to support the smaller AM studios, would it not be better to have a downloadable platform for this style of product (JAMMA 3?)

  6. Shaggy December 15, 2008 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    The Examu board might be a good place to start, I do wonder what the exact specs for are however.

  7. Editor December 15, 2008 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    They have played coy with all questions for information. It is fundamentally a reversed engineered Model 3 board with Capcom elements. The Chinese / Taiwanese operations are not best placed to support the studios. The board is also not rated for JAMMA support (trade not the standard).

    Your best chance as a small studio is to move onto TypeX via support from Taito or Capcom, or do a deal for the new Namco PC board – either way – Big Bucks!

  8. Matt December 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Honestly, the economics of the arcade just make more sense during rough economic times, when considered from the perspective of the consumer. When money’s good, purchasing a new game at $80 a pop isn’t too much trouble. When times get rough, though, $.75 a play becomes a much more agreeable alternative.

    Of course you’ll always have a hard time getting the depth of story and length of game in the arcade that you get on home consoles.

  9. Molloy December 16, 2008 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    The vast majority of games have badly written, badly voiced messes of storylines. The success of mini games and stuff like Wii Sports are showing that the vast majority of people don’t really care about lengthy experiences. I certainly know I hate them. Just an excuse for lazy filler and bad design in many cases.

    A downloadable system for PC based hardware might well be a good idea. I’d just like to see the small developers operating on a small budget getting a chance of floorspace. If the games are cheap to produce they could innovate more and create some new experiences. Look at G Rev. They more or less created a whole new genre of shooter with Senko No Ronde. The game it probably closest resembles is Computer Space, which inexplicably hasn’t been ripped off a tousand times like every other early arcade game.

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