What’s the most expensive arcade game ever made? It’s a difficult question to answer since prices weren’t always published or records kept, particularly when it came to games that were so expensive, only large theme parks could afford to buy them. When you get into products at this range you also start dealing with things that blur the line between arcade machine and attraction, although one barometer could be: if it requires an attendant, it is an attraction. That might eliminate the likes of the Sega R360, which sold for around $90,000 in 1990, or $208k in today’s dollars, from the running but like I said, it’s kind of blurry. Others that likely count as the most expensive arcade games include: Sega’s Derby Owners Club (I remember seeing pricing well above $100k for those 10 years ago but that was used), Namco’s Galaxian 3 Theater-6 (can’t find a mention of the price), or Namco’s Ridge Racer Full Scale. I don’t think that any of those required an attendant but unfortunately I’m also not sure how much they sold for new.
With today’s news, we don’t have a new record holder, but we do have a new entry into the exclusive $100k+ club with Trio-Tech’s QUBE. This 4-player light-gun game debuted at IAAPA 2022 and as of last week, it began shipping; I received confirmation of this from Trio-Tech themselves.
Now you might be wondering, “When most arcade games are around $12k these days, why on earth is this game around $100k?” That requires a little explanation, although I should mention that I’ve not been given an exact quote on the price – several distributors have mentioned “around $100k” however.
Trio-Tech did get their start in creating high end arcade games and simulators, such as Ballistics, Wasteland Racer 2071 and the Mad Wave Motion Theater. Around the end of the 00s though, they launched the XD Theater, an interactive multiplayer light-gun attraction with motion seats, wind effects, and a giant 3D screen. The system was customizable on the number of seats, handling anywhere between 4 to 128 (as I recall). Later, Trio-Tech followed up with the XD Dark Ride and these platforms were so successful that they moved away from smaller arcade-like systems and instead have been focusing on medium-to-large scale attractions for theme parks. Chances are you’ve seen one of these latter systems at such a place, or in an FEC.
Now I have been out of the sales business for a while so I don’t know how much an XD Dark Ride goes for, I recall years ago that they started in the neighborhood of $250k – probably higher given where inflation has gone over the past couple of years. Now enter in the QUBE – it’s essentially an arcadified XD Dark Ride, limited to 4 D-Box motion seats and sold in a cabinet that takes up a little more space than your typical environmental cabinet. It also has 3 games, although they tend to call them “interactive rides,” available for it, with more coming later. The graphics on these games are also top notch, having been developed using Unreal Engine 5 and are shown on a 100″ 4K screen. For anyone complaining about modern arcade graphics, you can’t fault this one.
Given the hardware in place, multiple game offerings and where the price point of an XDDR is, that explains why it’s sold at this point – it allows FECs to grab an XDDR experience without needing to shell out quite so much cash for one of those. No, it’s not something that a small fry like me could afford but its not made for street/route operators or bar/arcades, just like the R360 or Ridge Racer Full scale.
What do you think about this one?