The only constant in this world is change. The ancients counseled us about this unsettling reality, and just about any business consultant starts from that premise when advising clients. Our industry’s Three Amigos (Rick Iceberg, Ben Jones and George Smith) put it more bluntly in their recurring FEC seminar theme: change or die. As we transition from spring into summer, the trade has already seen plenty of change, and most for the better.
For starters, the FEC boom continues unabated with new facilities and renovations taking place across the globe. That means new investment in amusement equipment, which in turn provides game and attraction makers with the capital needed to fund ongoing R&D on new, innovative products for the industry. It’s a virtuous circle.
The industry also continues to enjoy a renaissance in educational opportunities as the recent Amusement Expo’s day of seminars continued to attract participants, complemented by similar daylong offerings by the bulk vending and laser tag groups. Earlier this year also saw the evolution of IAAPA’s FEC Dallas and the Amigos’ F2FEC. AMOA also plans to continue its fall Road Scholar event, and at press time was in the process of launching the latest class of its Notre Dame Management Program. In short, opportunity abounds to master your craft as an amusement professional.
We also learned at this Expo that the show will hit the road in two years, traveling to Dallas in 2017, after many years in Las Vegas. Organizers say this is the next stop in the evolution of an event that has already been through many significant changes in recent years. The show, which is co-owned by AAMA and AMOA, is the result of a consolidation of the traditional fall and spring shows. Last year, the show changed its schedule, dedicating one day to education and shortening the exhibits to two days. The two associations have recently renewed their agreement to co-sponsor the event and announced plans to both hit the road to Dallas and more actively market the show to international attendees.
All of these changes represent movement in the right direction. However, one off key note that continues to sound through the industry is the concern by street operators about a lack of product designed for them. Their worries are borne out in this month’s new equipment catalog, which is dominated by games created for the game room and FEC side of the business. We agree that the street needs more new product, but it’s also worth noting that leagues and promotions remain strong for operators that pursue them. In fact, the dart business, which went semi-dormant for a number of years, has come roaring back as a result of new technologies that allow for remote competition. Additionally, companies like S&B Candy and Toy (this month’s cover subject) are creating innovative auto-prize machines that will work well on the street.
Navigating a changing marketplace is never comfortable, but it’s necessary, even mandatory, for those who hope to remain successful. We applaud the private firms and industry organizations that are committed to keeping up with the times and maybe even working hard enough to get slightly ahead of the curve. As the dutiful chroniclers of this fascinating trade, we get to come along for the ride. Change or die, indeed.
Direct email to RePlay Magazine Editor Steve White.
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