While I’ve heard the sentiment before that smartphones would mean the final doom for the arcade industry (just like services like Xbox 360 Live was supposed to mean the same thing), that dire prediction has not been the case. If anything, we’ve received more videmption content that has earned pretty well on locations.
But the usage of smartphone apps in the arcade has been fairly low. Raw Thrills and Sega have both offered QR code scanning for high scores; in some areas like Japan you can pay for credits with your phone (which is something that will also be available soon with the Big Buck HD app) but that is where it has ended. I’ve mused before that smartphones could be used with arcades to do so much more (I can’t find the post now but we had some discussion about it) – player profiles, location trackers, high score alerts, manipulating attract modes, options adjustments, adding content to an active game (like bonus targets), unlockable Augmented Reality content or even cross-play.
We finally have some of that coming our way but not from one of the big companies. Indie developer Unit-E Global (that is the parent company of Unit-E Technologies that their mobile releases will occur under) has announced linking between the arcade version of their rhythm game NEON FM and the new smartphone versions of the game which will be available for Android and iOS “this Spring”. At IAAPA2014 I already witnessed how you could use your smartphone on the game to log in and adjust certain settings, so they already had some level of integration available. But cross-platform play is certainly a new angle on what can be done; This app will mark be the most significant usage of mobile hardware in the arcade that I am aware of. Below are a couple of videos showing it in action along with the press release that gives us all of the current details.
What are your thoughts on this level of mobile/arcade integration?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Indie Studio Unit-e Global Develops Technology to Link Arcades and Mobile Devices
By Eric Yockey
March 11, 2015
Baltimore, MD – In an industry first, Neon FM arcade players will be able to compete in real time against opponents anywhere in the world, on any compatible device. “You can, while in line [at the arcade] and waiting to play, just join in and play the person right there in front of you,” explains Unit-e engineer Charles Lohr.
Neon FM is available in arcades in the US and abroad, and is coming to iPhone, iPad, and Android this Spring. In addition to online multiplayer between devices, the company has also developed a patent-pending QR code login system that allows players to save scores, change settings, and remotely control the machine.
Notes to editors
ABOUT NEON FM™
Neon FM™ is an American 5-panel hand-based music game featuring music from popular independent artists (Virtual Riot, Tristam, Pegboard Nerds, Freezepop, etc.) and independent music labels (Monstercat, Rightsify, Abora Recordings, etc.). The game is currently available in arcades and is coming to mobile platforms this Spring.
For pictures, video, and more information on Neon FM and the project’s history, visit www.neonfm.com.
A press kit with promotional media and logos is available here.
Unit-e Global, L.C., parent company of Unit-e Technologies, L.C. is a technology development studio designed to create unique experiences by integrating blockbuster software with novel hardware solutions.
For more information on the company, visit www.unitetechno.com.
Eric Yockey, MBA
CEO, Unit-e Global, L.C.
1414 Shoemaker Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21209
Office: (858) 84-UNITE
Office: (858) 848-6483