The Arcade Business Is Doing Well
2017 has been an awesome year for arcade gaming. From a business perspective, myself and many others have seen profits increase as interest has held strong for people gaming out-of-home. As I tweeted out yesterday:
Calling all firm believers in the "death of the arcade"…my little video arcade biz (with zero ticket redemption; no VR) in one of the smaller malls in Utah gets to mark 2017 as the best year (by far) we've had in business over 9 1/2 years. #LongLiveTheArcade #HappyNewYear
— Arcade Heroes – The Saviors of Coin-op Newsblog (@arcadeheroes) December 29, 2017
In part moving to a new, larger, nicer looking location has been a plus as that has allowed me to add more content. The benefits of a strong economy cannot be overlooked as people (particularly families) have more disposable income for things like entertainment. It would have been even better had Hollywood not continued to falter for a variety of reasons beyond their LET’S REBOOT ALL THE THINGS obsession. Historically I have seen my busiest days when there is a movie launching at the big theater that’s within the same mall. This year, I’ve seen more regular customers coming around while groups seem to be more about looking for something to do as opposed to just killing time for a movie. It also might be noteworthy to point out that there is a VR arcade just two doors down from me although I am not sure how they’ve been doing over the year to compare.
I’m not alone in this from the little info I’ve gathered so far: Las Vegas Soho in London, UK has seen their profits “quadruple”; the Xtreme Action Park in Ft. Lauderdale, FL has found their arcade (which is a blend of old/new video games and ticket redemption) outearning their massive indoor go-kart installation (this was mentioned in a newsletter but I am not finding a link for this newsletter to be seen outside of an email). I would like to hear from other operators as to how their business has been performing (whether it’s good or bad).
I opened my arcade in June 2008, which is when the “Great Recession” was getting started so I’ve been able to witness the whole roller coaster from start to finish. I don’t have any reason to believe that 2018 will change for the worse as we have many ‘arcade exclusive’ games on their way that people will want to play, while economic indicators continue to be strong. I think that the momentum will continue although that’s not to say that it will be nothing but growth for eternity – there are always periods of growth and periods of downturn. It’s just important to know how to weather the downturn times by making sound business decisions. The companies that pulled through the recession the best are those who had little debt but that is easier said than done in the amusement business where if you go new, it’s usually pricey.
As for what did the best and what did the worst (checking today, it’s pretty much the same – The Walking Dead which I picked up this Summer is in a very close 2nd when looking at averages, just a few dollars behind Cruis’n) :
Unless something changes drastically over the next couple of weeks here's the best & worst earning arcade games I've seen in 2017 (from my location)
Best: Cruis'n Blast (Raw Thrills)
Worst: Knights Of The Round (Capcom) <- The game was broken for a few months but still quite low
— Arcade Heroes – The Saviors of Coin-op Newsblog (@arcadeheroes) December 15, 2017
The Top 10 Posts On Arcade Heroes In 2017
It’s that time of year to see what it is that readers were most interested in. I am putting together a video to compile game releases this year and will also mention the top 3 stories but here are links to the top 10 most viewed stories on the site that were published this year. As you’ll quickly see, Raw Thrills has dominated the headlines. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up:
10 – Mortal Kombat II+ Now In Public Beta
9 – Tracking down the Namco Galaxian 3 6 Player Theater from Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada and Beyond
8 – Master List Of Unreleased/Prototype Arcade Games – I normally don’t include info pages on this list but this one was published this year so it’ll count. Otherwise, news of Sega’s new driving game would be #10
7 – On Test: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
6 – IAAPA 2017: Raw Thrills booth with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Injustice Arcade; X Games Snow Boarder
5 – Why Arcades Haven’t Died In The United States
4 – From one historic landmark to another, The Story of a Sega R360 and my 14 month search to find the long lost game from my childhood
3 – Injustice: Gods Among Us Coming To Arcades Via Raw Thrills
2 – Dave & Busters Launches Injustice Arcade With Exclusive Cabinet; Sales Open For General Release
1 – Coming To IAAPA 2017: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Raw Thrills
What do you look forward to hearing more about in 2018?
I managed to get the 4th most popular post, I am so happy.