Here are two bits of news from opposite sides of the US that I am sure will be of interest to you all, so let’s get to it.
It was reported a short time back that the famed Chinatown Fair Arcade in NYC was going to be re-opening it’s doors. After the heart-ache fans went through with the locations closure, this is certainly welcome news although the word on the street is that it will be much more of a family themed place so I guess time will tell how that will work out, being that it was a ‘gritty’ type arcade previously. I’m sure we’ll be hearing feedback about it soon enough. [Via The Gothamist]
UPDATE: Arcade Hunters offers some impressions on the re-opened venue. It’s definitely taken a different route, headed towards a modern redemption/video arcade instead of tradtional style it used to be
Crusin’ on over to sunny California, Sega embraces the fighter game once again in conjunction with Southtown Arcade, a newer venue in San Fransisco. Not many people know this but Sega did release Virtua Fighter 5 in very limited quantities to arcades back in ’08. I actually had a choice when I opened my own arcade to go with either a House of the Dead 4 Super Deluxe or a Virtua Fighter 5 and I opted for the former. However after releasing the game to consoles here, Sega continued to create some specific updates to the arcade version of the game in Japan, one of which added Twitter functionality. Sega has recently announced that a new version of the game is coming to home consoles this Summer called Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown and it just so happens that they have decided to give players a chance to try it out in arcades first, to a limited degree, in particular by hosting a tournament for the title at the Southtown Arcade this past week. The Official Sega blog has some details about that, although at the moment I highly doubt that they will be giving this a wide release in the US.
Like with other modern fighters that all originate from Japan, the expense and the risk for such a short window of time on these games often is not worth the payout, especially in cases where updates are given more frequently to the console versions then the arcade. This shouldn’t be the case these days in our ultra-connected world we live in but it is. This case with VF5FS looks like a special case where it’s more of a promotional thing taking place, so I am talking about in general/industry wide. If there was a revenue share system direct with the manufacturer’s in these instances or something like NESiCA then I think it would be less of a problem. I would gladly split revenues with Namco or Sega for a few months worth of a game like Tekken Tag 2 or VF5:FS while it was an arcade exclusive. Or at least release affordable kits (that are priced in typical kit ranges like $2000-$3000 and not $10k) that could manage to pay themselves off in time. Often the argument is made that kits will go into crappy cabinets put there by lazy operators and perhaps that is true in some cases but given that this is a profit and reputation driven market, arcades that make the effort to procure an HD cabinet will be rewarded with more business then a venue that doesn’t. So I believe that while some will use a junk cabinet with a kit, many others will put it into something nice, like is seen with Southtown here. It’s just too bad that arcade fighters could be raking in some great revenues and visitations for venues but that can’t happen for whatever logistical reason that is keeping the current system in place.