Trekking Into 2019
Evaluating Game Earnings & Reflecting on Past Promotions
by Adam Pratt, Game Grid Arcade & ArcadeHeroes.com
The new year provides the opportunity for new beginnings, allowing us to review the past 12 months and see exactly how games, promotions and policies performed. This can help you know if the course you’re taking is working or if some adjustments need to be made.
Let’s start with game earnings. We get a basic idea of how games are doing out there with the monthly RePlay charts, but hard numbers are always best. Getting such data is always difficult, which is unfortunate since the more we know in this regard, the better buying decisions we can make.
We all know the reasons why sharing earnings data is challenging, but that said, I thought I’d publish the weekly averages of my top 10 games in my video-focused location (remember, I don’t have any ticket redemption games):
#10 – Big Buck Wild: $68
#9 – Batman (Raw Thrills): $68
#8 – Pac-Man Battle Royale: $69
#7 – Air Ride air hockey: $77
#6 – TMNT (2018): $109
#5 – Star Wars Battle Pod: $116
#4 – Aliens Armageddon: $142
#3 – The Walking Dead: $323
#2 – Jurassic Park Arcade: $366
#1 – Cruis’n Blast – $403
(Note: Maximum Tune 5 and TMNT weren’t at my location for the entire year so both would otherwise be much higher on the list. I do have an iCube and Key Master on location, but they’re revenue shares with two operators I’ve worked with for a long time.)
My earnings may look like peanuts compared to those of many of you out there. (I’m sure it’s laughable compared to FECs.) But, that’s okay. I understand my area and location, which isn’t exactly prime real estate.
I shared this information on a special closed Facebook group called “Arcade Owners – Behind The Cabinets,” where other operators joined in the conversation and shared the earnings of their top games. Games frequently mentioned at the top (in locations across the U.S.) were Jurassic Park Arcade, NBA Hoops/Game Time, Mario Kart GP2, Guitar Hero, Cruis’n Blast, and Aliens Armageddon. Some operators mentioned ticket redemption, where titles like Big Bass Wheel, Ticket Time and Treasure Quest took top spots; some also got great performance out of their pinballs, while others (like mine), not so much.
Moving beyond the games, there were other ideas that I tried out in 2018, as a way to build up my business. That included the Achievement Patches program and King of the Week weekly tournament. Both started off okay, but unfortunately didn’t hold interest among my clients. I’m still going to push the Achievement Patches once I rethink some of the requirements. (One of the few people who did give it a try said that it was “really difficult.”) King of the Week and Grid Points are being put on hold for now since no one really show interest after the first few weeks.
There are a few games on my radar for 2019, though I am mainly looking at those to expand into our first route operation. These would mainly be used titles, such as Cruis’n Exotica, Time Crisis II, Doctor Who pinball and a few others. This operation has slowly been in the works since the middle of 2018 and opened the second week of January. It’s not a huge arcade – we only took seven games over – but it fulfills the needs of the client. What it especially does for me is open up a new avenue of business that I hope will provide a buffer when our competition –– a big FEC coming to our mall –– opens this summer.
Will there be more games on my shopping list? I certainly think so, even though part of me questions the wisdom of buying more games when a giant competitor has me in the crosshairs. Some of the new content will go to the route, other to the arcade as a way of keeping things fresh. I’m looking at adding a Dialed In! pinball a local collector is selling, and the new lower price on Raw Thrills’ Injustice is certainly a temptation. I also have some “oddballs” on my radar, including Cosmotrons and The Spectre Files, two games that are classic in nature, but new in production. No, they won’t dethrone Cruis’n Blast, but I think they still add value to the overall nature of the business.
I wish you the best as you reflect and evaluate. Here’s to another awesome year!
Adam Pratt is the owner and operator of the Game Grid arcade near Salt Lake City, Utah. He also publishes the Arcade Heroes blog site and serves as an advisor for the web-based game supplier BMI Worldwide. He can be reached at [email protected].