Article: Running An Arcade in 2015

arcadehero September 8, 2015 2
Article: Running An Arcade in 2015

(Thanks to everyone that sent this in)

I don’t have a lot that I think I can add to this article entitled “Running An Arcade in 2015” over at – just that it fairly covers the venues as a small window into what it is like to operate an arcade in this day and age. Along those lines is this post I put up last year showing how busy venues could get in 2014. For 2015 at my own arcade and at least one other traditional arcade I know of in Florida (Arcade Odyssey), business has been really good this Summer.


It does only take a tiny sampling of the market at large although it is more than some other articles I have read. As I have often pointed out here on AH, companies like Raw Thrills (one of the few companies in this industry that has released sales numbers at some point) didn’t sell 2000+ H2Overdrives, 2000+ Guitar Hero Arcades or the Big Buck Hunter games consistently selling in the multiple thousands to a “dead industry” or one or two chains of arcades (Dave & Busters right now is approaching 80 locations; Chuck E. Cheeses has around 500 so even the two combined would have to purchase 2 units for each location to cover half of some of those sales, which CEC would not have done).

It never hurt for a location to buy 4 of them either...

It never hurt for a location to buy 4 of them either…

It does mostly miss one unsung aspect of the industry that is actually a huge part of it – operators (businesses that don’t own the store front, just the games that they will put into a venue). The article mentions something that an operator does but he is a partner to the bar/arcade owner (revenue sharing) but there are a lot of operators out there which make up a huge part of getting new games out there. They just don’t all advertise/market very often and thus can be hard to track down and aren’t as publicly visible. There are exceptions to that of course, my podcast partner at All Castle Games has been doing a lot of social media in recent times.

Anyways, I am glad to see an article which did more than usual when it comes to investigating the industry. As they mention, chances of getting rich off this endeavor are slim – such is the case with any business really. Some struggle, some thrive, some reach a certain point and coast on that. The same can be said for any genre of business really. Still, it can’t be said enough that arcades are alive and in some instances thriving. It just takes the right mix of factors with a good leader at the front to make it happen.

What are your thoughts on this article?


  1. kevinw729 September 9, 2015 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Interesting article, more for what it missed then for what was placed. The Barcade scene has got a lot of churn in the last few years – we had a big two-parter in the Stinger Report back in ’12!!

    Seems Polygon came late to the party and cobbled together a workmens-ike piece on the subject. Missing out key players and missing the whole Level 257 thing is embarrassing, but I am sure they hope their audience would not know about this.

    All in all, it is clear that even the mainstream can not hide the fact that social out-of-home gaming is a “thing”!

  2. voltz September 11, 2015 at 1:13 am - Reply

    Most of these arcades that have anything to do with keeping up to date with current titles/hardware have to do with being part of an establisment and I guess the selection does make them fit the “amusement” title rather then one for a true arcade.

    If we wanted a real one, I know there’s too much risk involved and you’ll only thrive if you know the area well enough. Sadly most of us don’t live in big cities like Chicago where the gaming scene is still popular in a local setting. The rest of us have to scour laundry mats and budget theaters just to play anything classic. (if we’re lucky)

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