As the children of the ‘90s become the adults of today, nostalgia for the video game arcade has become a booming market when done right. As in-home video game systems became more popular and more convenient at the end of the 20th century, the popularity of the arcade saw a steep drop-off. Now, however, many adults, especially those with younger children, are looking to recapture the noisy, gaudy fun of an old-fashioned arcade. This is a golden opportunity to cater to a potentially loyal market with your family entertainment center. Sports Facility Management can offer some things to consider before committing to the installation of an arcade in your family entertainment center.
The most important consideration initially is whether or not an arcade is within your budget. While the idea of a video game arcade in the age of video game consoles acting as the media hub of a household might seem quaint, the machines are often expensive. The lowest price for a good, modern arcade will still come to approximately $250,000. Opening something bigger to cater to a larger crowd and multiple generations could end up costing upwards of $1,000,000. There are a lot of options out there for buying or renting arcade machines, but these basic price estimates are just to give you an idea of the potential costs involved for your family entertainment center.
Arcade machines, even now, require a lot of maintenance. Regular, daily checking of the machines you have running at your family entertainment center to make sure they are working properly is vital, and timely repairs are essential to keep your customers happy. If you are thinking about adding an arcade to your sports complex, think about potentially hiring staff just to maintain and monitor the machines. Keeping an arcade working smoothly is a full-time role, often requiring multiple team members. It can also be helpful to have staff members who are already enthusiastic and knowledgeable about arcade machines, vintage or otherwise.
It is also important to think about who you are opening your arcade for. Although it seems like an outdated business model, arcades still maintain a steady revenue stream with newer machines. On the other side of this coin is a booming market for a nostalgic millennial audience looking for classic games and machines. Think about which audience your family entertainment center already appeals to, and whether you want to open it to a new set of customers, or offer a whole new dimension of entertainment to your existing market. Think about whether you need the most up-to-date, modern machines, older, vintage machines, or a mixture of both, and how much which options is likely to cost.
Once you decide on who you are appealing to, funnel this mentality into your marketing. Your new arcade will certainly attract attention from customers who already use your sports complex or family entertainment center, but you need to widen your net to make the most of the appeal. Use what you know about who you are trying to appeal to by engaging with them through a short and focused marketing campaign. Particularly for a millennial audience, social media is an ideal opportunity to directly market to new customers, along with more traditional forms of media. If your arcade is playing on nostalgia, make this the theme of your entire campaign – from the copy in your ads to the way they look.