The Economics Of Arcades In The 21st Century

September 9, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

It’s been a while since arcades were a part of the national conversation. Willie Clark looked at the ones that still run today and how they work:

  • It’s difficult to make any real money from games so most modern arcades are game areas with bars attached.
  • At one arcade, games make up just 4% of revenue. The other 96% is mostly food and drink.
  • Arcade owners are experimenting with different pricing models. Some still charge the quarter per play common when arcades were popular in the 80s and 90s.
  • Others are trying out flat rate models where, for example, a customer pays $7 to play unlimited games for an hour – although this can lead to people hogging machines.
  • Many of the arcades are filled with classic games from the arcade era. The machines can be bought on eBay and can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000.
  • Given the age of the machines, arcades also have to factor in about $200 a month to pay for maintenance.

Read more about arcade games with drink holders, how Dave and Buster’s is an exception, lingering legal obstacles, and other details here.

Source: Polygon