An Arcade in San Diego


Well me and my buddy were thinkin about opening up a arcade in san diego,we have the funds.and we feel that their is a big enough community here to make this possible.i have a few questions
-What would be better to have Arcade or Console setup?
-Can you Charge for console setup?
-How much are arcade Setups?
-(if you live in sd or close to it) where do u think a great spot would be? and would you go?
-and generaly anything you know,if you own a competitive arcade like denjin or china town id love to talk to you about what i need to do to make it successful also if anyone would like to buy in on it let me know:party:


Both arcade and consoles setup.

You can charge (per hour, or flat rate) for consoles. This has been done in the past.

Arcade setups. You really don’t know? They vary. I would suggest just getting the games that people actually play, don’t get golden token’d.

Best spot IMO would be in Clairemont Mesa area, where all the asians are. Either that or in National City/Chula Vista area. Stay open LATE.

If you’re serious, listen to the community. But be careful who… you listen to… a lot of people only care about what they want.

I’m from San Diego btw.


i agree for location or i was thinkin over by mesa college,i want to have 3rd strike tekken 6 ssf4(if released for arcade ill get 4 arcade,but if not console) not gunna get sf4 cuz ssf4 will be the game of choice probally,mvc 2 and im open to ideas.also i would be having tourneys every friday,and im still working on a name (alsoo open to ideas)


You may want to consider offering more than just games, that doesn’t really cut it anymore stateside. I know some places double as a bar,while others sell some basic food.

Also, bear in mind, the real money would be pulled in from stuff like DDR. Only fighting games would be digging yourself a hole because it’s more niche.


I’d say visit as many arcades as you can to see how they do things. Arcade Infinity and Family Fun have been open for as long as I can remember, so they must be doing something right. All the other arcades I knew are gone.

Arcade Inifinty is well known in the Bemani world, they seem to have the newest versions of whatever music game is out, so its a bemani meet up spot. Of course they have many fighting games, and im starting to get into Shmups, and they are the only arcade that I know of that has a few new shooting games.

Family Fun has been around since I was a kid playing hacked SF2 versions and has never really changed. They have console setups by the hour, and added snacks and drinks, but besides that its been the same.


its actually going to be a videogame store and arcde,plus i plan to have snacks too


Also, don’t charge a dollar a game, keep it fifty cents tops. That ruins it for me.


Yeah, unless you have enough players constantly dropping quarters into your machines, you will need some non-fgs to help keep your arcade afloat. Even Denjin has DDR and Maximum Tune cabinets.

Even if your arcade does well, you will still not see much profit from it for a long time due to the high cost of cabinets, maintenance, and the fact you will probably need to get a new game in during that time to keep things interesting. I believe it took 3 months for our arcade to break even on SFIV… pretty long considering the arcade is on a UC campus, was being played almost nonstop at $.60 a play, and that we had the cabinet 4 months before SFIV had its console release.


I’ve always played with this idea in my head a little. I figure in order to survive with the times, the arcade would have to become some sort of crazy hybrid of lounge + arcade. I would suggest an arcade and net cafe lounge thing but I have no idea how popular LAN centers are there in San Diego.


well thats the idea plus the arcade would be centerd around the tourneys and i think the scene for competitive gaming,and intermediate(kids,family,friends,ect) is big enough to support it. also you have to think about that we will be the only “arcade” from chula vista(the border) all the way to L.A


I would look into some sort of magnetized card system. I remember an arcade I would go to in Colorado, they didn’t have quarters or tokens. You would purchase play by the hour and they would give you a card you could swipe on any of the machines until your time was up to play.

I think it would save trouble because you wouldn’t have to deal with coins, you’d probably get more customers and returning customers if they are getting their money’s worth (probably a lot more satisfaction than charging $0.50-$1 a game).

Only thing is, I don’t know if that card system they used was custom and how much it would cost to implement, but definitely the best solution if it’s affordable in my opinion.


If you’re thinking about a video game store/arcade The Pad is something you should take a look at. Game store in front, console set ups in the back and some cabinets. Empire Arcadia holds their tourneys there about every month or so.


Ed Farias and the Arcadeinabox crew also opened up thier own gaming center



I would develop a business model before you look into bells and whistles.


I don’t see the arcade scene getting larger. But, the casual “Bring you own stick” gameplay seems more inviting. IMO i’d suggest a ton of nice sit-downs and charge flat rate. Yet, the arcade scene comes large & brings a ton competition that the casual gameplay doesn’t bring.


definatly that is why i posted this i kinda wanted to get some feed back b4 i actually start the wheels in motion


You should make sure to visit the local places that already have casual play like Cody’s house.

Then see what people wanna play that is not getting play time at those places.

It would probably also help to go to all the Boomer’s and see what people are playing most.


This is kind of like a chicken/egg question imo.

As someone that used to operated a small business, I really think you need a business model before you get the wheels in motion.

Like, you say you have the money, but wouldn’t it be better to consider a LLC so your personal risk is limited? It is a pretty high risk venture, after all.

Have you considered SBA loans?

How big of a venue are you considering? How much does square footage cost in the areas you’re considering? How short of a lease do landlords want?

Is charging less than a dollar a game (for new games) even feasible given the rent in the locations you’re considering?

It seems like you are thinking an arcade/retail hybrid. Do you have anyone with retail experience you can consult? Are you aware of distribution channels for games/game systems? How much setup cost you’ll need for stock? Can you even sell games at competitive price point compared to EB Games/etc?

I don’t know the first thing about retail distribution channels, or even who to ask. But you ought to start asking yourself some of these questions.


mudd club off of ted williams parkway comes to mind when you mention some of that stuff.

they tried doing it big (ie, LAN center, arcades that catered to SRK, rooms with flat screens that you could rent out, hell they even sold video games) but they didnt last long.

when i mean they had arcades that catered to SRK, they asked us what we wanted and they got it (they got mvc2, cvs2, and 3s quickly) but the dude was charging too much imo (something along the lines of 50cents but you needed to pay a 2dollar admission fee). when nickel city was just down the street charging us 15cents a pop with the 2dollar admission.

i actually like the idea of having the location around the clairmont area since it’s towards the middle of everything and yeah… there are a lot of asians there. if you have it close enough to mesa college/that high school there (forgot the name) i think you’d have a decent chance at this.

but like Starcade RIP already stated, you need to ask yourself some serious questions and have a decent model before actually starting this up.


its brave trying to open an arcade especially in sd, but there are things you need to consider if you want yours to be successful.

1st one and this is probably one of the most important, is your location, your location can make or break your arcade right from the start. id say look at a map of the sd county and try and get somewhere in the center so its easy enough for all parts of the sd community to get to, and you really should try and get a location with places around that can benefit your arcade like a movie theater, a shopping mall, or a college campus, and i’d say having a good selection of places to eat near by would really help you out.

2nd one is the other really important one and that is your customer service, you really need to make sure you are listening to your players they are your customers and your way of operating your business catering to them should always be a priority. to me this is what really sets the best arcades above the others

3rd is your equipment/maintenance, imo at least for fighters with the exception of marvel you should really try and go with all japanese h2h cabinets. since sf4 came out on console more and more people are finally using japanese controllers to the point where id even say its the more preferred. you really wanna stay on top of your game/cabinet maintenance having good amounts of spare buttons, sticks, and anything else you’d need can only help. if any problem should arise you can have it fixed on the spot (this is extremely necessary if you wish to hold tournaments). also, you wanna try and keep up with the more popular games and try and get the newest versions of games in to keep your players interested, filling an arcade with nothing but old games can hurt you but having old games that are still very popular and played very often are good to have also.

4th is pricing. bottom line is an arcade is a business you need to make your money worth, but you also need to keep prices fair or nobody will pay to play when they could just play at home for free. charging an entrance fee like every other arcade i’ve seen in sd is flat out stupid in my opinion and charging anything over 25 cents for games that are 10 or more years older is like a slap in the face. i’ll say it for these games in particular if you plan to have 3s, cvs2, mvc2, or any version of sf2 you should only charge 25 cents and no more than that. music games and other stuff like that you’ll have to research.

5th is consoles. personally i hate consoles in arcades i don’t think they belong there, but they are what people play on these days, my advice on consoles if you decide to include them in your arcade is get them but wire them into a cabinet (there are ways to do this but again you’ll have to do some research) so you still at least get that arcade feel. with the ssf4 being a console only game and hd remix being somewhat popular this is something id really consider if i were you, but i couldn’t see myself charging over 25-50 cents with those games being on console you’d probably make your money back plus some within a week if that.

last i think someone already said it, but you have to stay open late man, its an absolute must especially on friday and saturday night on the those 2 days closing before midnight is not a smart move imo. i dont know if i can speak for everyone but playing during late hours is like prime time for arcade players. take this into consideration.

i know this was a lot to read but i’ve seen every arcade in sd straight up do it the wrong way every time and they always die. i hope you succeed if you attempt it man its really hard to do. oh and one more thing is i think if you ever get it up and running you should always try and ask yourself how you can improve your arcade because there is always something that can be done to make it better.


face it why is socal arcades great

Street fighter 4 and t6 for a quarter and a strong community willing to play

what does sd have a bunch of scrubs who complain sagat is to strong, rufus shouldnt move that fast, and balrog is cheap. they go home and cry and play wow

i will support this idea 100% though