I’ve been on the prowl for good news in the industry where ever I can find it, and while this post is going to be brief, it certainly falls within the ‘good’ category.
A couple of days ago, the Exa-Arcadia company announced that they had sold out of their initial lot of Exa-Arcadia arcade systems. With the batch falling in at 200 units, this means that there are 200 different locations across 10 countries where you can enjoy what the system has to offer. This is a feat that they achieved in only 90 days, with the pandemic certainly slowing some of that down; They are also taking orders for the second batch if you are interested. As a disclaimer, I operate one of those locations, as previously discussed on this blog and shown below; you can check out the full press release in English here (Japanese if you’re interested is here).
Part of the release touts the performance of the games, where titles like Aka & Blue Type-R reached #3 in top earnings in Japan this past February (it wasn’t on the list for April as most of the locations polled that had an Exa were closed due to the pandemic). At my store where I have Aka & Blue and Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ I had been seeing good numbers through February – not top 3 numbers overall, but it was in the top 3 of my joystick games. Getting a good picture on performance has been difficult, since I saw a massive drop in earnings in March, then I’ve been shut down for the past month. You also generally need some time to put that picture together. So far, Kung Fu has proved to be the strongest earner at my location, so I am certainly looking at another fighter for the platform, as games like Chaos Code will be available relatively soon (delayed due to the shutdown in Japan). I did order Lightning Knights, a game that I am also curious to see how it goes, but I likewise have to wait there. Aka & Blue, while not everyone’s cup of tea in Utah, has been drawing in some loyal play though, as it was the last game that got played when I was open, with some STG fans driving a ways just to come and practice at it.
Getting sales data on units sold in the arcade business is a bit of a rarity. There was a time, about ten years ago, where companies like Raw Thrills published such numbers (Read: Big Buck Safari passes 5,000; 2,000 Guitar Hero units sold in 90 days; 10,000 Stackers (LAI Games) sold & rising). Last time I heard such a thing come out from a big company was with Golden Tee 2020, as they had a banner at Amusement Expo 2020 touting their “15,000 locations” that were operating the game, but most companies have been silent on that kind of data over the past decade. Indie arcade makers tend to state what their sales are when you talk with them at events (Bumble Bear Games has said at trade shows and events like CAX that they sold over 120 Killer Queens), but they rarely publish the numbers. By every account I have heard of indies, breaking 100 is very uncommon, so in these terms, Exa selling 200 is quite good for a fresh newcomer.
Granted, it is easier to move kits than it is dedicated units, but I still believe that this shows the strategy that they have been using has been working. It is also likely going to be prudent for anyone to be able to show off value in the aftermath of the pandemic, as a lot of arcade companies that survive this are going to have strained or limited capital for a while.
If you have had the opportunity to play an Exa title already, what are your thoughts about it?