Looks like GlobalVR has won some converts with it’s latest game NASCAR. So much so that one distributor in California has gone as far as writing a message on Coinoptoday.com that operators should avoid purchasing racing games from Namco and Sega (such as MaxiTune 3 and ID4) and instead spend that money on NASCAR in an effort to send them a message that prices need to come down. Some of this piece, by Brad Brown of WorldWide Video, has some strong words for the aforementioned companies but he does make some excellent points.
As many of you know, I am currently working on opening up my own arcade and I find myself agreeing with this opinion piece. I am by no means rich – in fact it’s been rather difficult ensuring that I have all of the funds in my personal account just so I can get a loan from the bank. Even then I am a bit below in funds from what I want to get started, but I’ll make do with what I have. Arcades are very expensive to get going and it’s pretty depressing when you look at how much you have to pay just to get one game. You almost wonder what it is you are really paying for because the chances of a decent ROI are near impossible. Take DDR for example. DDR Supernova from Konami runs for only $13,000. Chump change for operators, right? Maybe those who run Disneyland but not your typical street operator. Pump It up, a DDR clone runs for about half that price so if I purchase DDR , is it worth paying $7000 just for a name? Probably not. The same goes with Sega and Namco games – when Mario Kart came out, it was $9000. It still is expensive yet the hardware running the game is a slightly modified Gamecube. So unless that GC is made of solid gold, MK is grossly overpriced. I understand that it does take more work to make a high quality game, and thus it takes more money to so and with fewer games sold in the arcade industry than the console industry the advantage of bulk is lost but if a small company like GlobalVR is finding a way to bring prices down, there has to be a way for the big guys to do the same. I want nothing more than to offer great games like Afterburner, HotD4, Time Crisis 4 and more, but a small operator like myself can’t do that with a small amount of funds (just those three games bought together would run for nearly $30k, buying just the standard ‘cheap’ versions).
There was a time when arcade manfacturers were abhorred at the idea of selling a game at prices like we see today. Take for example The Last Starfighter by Atari. They canceled the game because it would have cost $10,000 to sell. Why did the arcade industry loose this mentality? Why do so many forces seem to attack the operator, from the government to manufacturers? Do we want this industry to survive or only exist in multi-million dollar facilities? As it says in the opinion piece “SEGA / NAMCO – It’s no use to keep up a business model that is strangling the coin op industry to death in a downward spiral as you have been doing since 1999.” He’s not the only one saying that too. Some are predicting that the coin op industry will be gone in 10 years. It doesn’t have to be that way but it will be if we don’t change our own industry. Gamers don’t like paying $2 for 60-90 seconds of fun – they would rather spend that on renting a game for their console at home. But operators don’t have much of a choice if the game cost them an arm and a leg. Make games with the quality you do now affordable to all operators and you will profit on your end and the industry will thrive.
UPDATE – Looks like the link below is no longer taking you to the article that we discussed. We are not sure why, but it is disappointing either way. Changes need to be made, prices need to come down and no one should be afraid to say so. I am not the only operator that believes in this (thanks for your e-mails, those of you who have sent them in), but I suppose change will only come when we speak with our dollars and not just with our mouths.