The Polycade Brand
Sleek, Multi-Game Street Machine Entices Operators, Players Alike
by Matt Harding
After some successful testing at a half dozen bars around Los Angeles, Polycade is expanding its footprint by opening up a beta program for their pay-to-play machine, which will give early operators discounted machines and a higher revenue share.
To date, the company has spent its time tinkering with the machine to get it just right, and building Polycade into a name brand – collaborating with artists like Snoop Dogg and Ludacris, and growing their Instagram following to 27,000 people and counting. They even developed a cool merchandise line. It’s all about getting players interested in Polycade and making it a part of their lifestyle.
Now, they’re excitedly less than six months away from completing a user app that will allow them to greatly expand player engagement and competition on the platform – something majorly beneficial to operators as well.
“The most important thing about this product (for operators) is today is the least it will ever earn,” said Tyler Bushnell, co-founder and CEO of Polycade. “It’s all uphill from here.” As of now, Polycade keeps 20 percent of revenue and operators share the remaining 80 percent with the venue. Operators can also control pricing, or leave it up to Polycade.
Currently, the arcade cabinet has about 30 games in the library, though Polycade is constantly licensing more and plans to continue doing so as they move forward. At the moment, they’ve been putting 16 games on machines and rotating them automatically based on play time.
“We hope to solve the problem of moving machines around,” Bushnell explained, adding that they’ve been holding weekly tournaments on the platform to further engage players. “And with continual software updates, the product keeps getting better and better.”
Once the new app launches, four games will be the sweet spot. With the app, new players will be able to sign into their account and get four custom suggestions. Then, they’ll be able to unlock two more games (and so on) by playing Polycade at two other locations or meeting other requirements.
To draw in more repeat customers during the build-up phase, Polycade is also offering new players an hour of free time to create an account (Polycade pays for that, not the operator). This allows players to enjoy the different games and get used to the platform. “Easy to learn, hard to master” games are the titles the company goes after.
Bushnell said players get excited about the classic titles that are available, but tend to favor newer ones like the best-performing game SpeedRunners and others like Tricky Towers, similar to the classic Tetris.
Logging onto the machines will take players back to where they were in the game, and they’ll also be able to save with different friends in multiplayer mode (meaning a player could be competing with multiple other players in various games).
Polycade not only benefits operators and players, but independent game developers as well, who have a better chance of getting their game seen with Polycade than among thousands on Steam and other online platforms.
One thing is for certain – the machine has definite curb appeal and its customizability also makes it a draw. Operators can get black and/or white machines, with or without vinyl rainbow stripes. Some have tapped artists to further customize the cabinets to make them stand out even more. A digital marquee screen above the Polycade aims to do that as well.
The company is developing a stand for its wall-mounted unit, and has a podium version in the works as well.
“We’re excited about the bar/street market because every player can access it, as opposed to getting the home machine,” Bushnell said.
See the pay-to-play unit yourself at Amusement Expo. Stop by Polycade’s Booth #667. For more information, email the company at [email protected], head to the website or call 323-999-4944.