Arcade Alternative/Addition?


#1

I did a few forum searches and didn’t get any hits. Sorry if this has been posted/discussed already (if so, link appreciated).

Has anyone been seriously considering alternatives to arcades?

I know some players around here go to a cyber/net cafe which features a rather large plasma screen TV and is hooked up to a console system. Apparently with a membership you’re charged an hourly fee for usage of the TV, and they let you hook whatever system/game and custom arcade sticks you want to it. I’m sure the service is meant specifically for the TV usage, but the players certainly are allowed to do with it as they will.

As said, this idea isn’t mine. Some players already do this on a regular basis and it seems to work rather well.

Personally I think it’s a great idea.

Net cafe’s usually already offer lan party/tournament services for other competitive video game genre’s. The difference of support for 2D and 3D fighters would only be a few minor equipment add-ons.

Though, I think it might be more successful if the cafe actually intended to offer this service as though it were an arcade – including supplying all necessary equipment and featuring promotional offers. And of course, more successful if it was a widespread practice.

Net cafe’s are already successful independantly, and the additional cost and risk of adding console support would be minimal.

Better yet, if arcades were to start adding this same/similar service.

One might question why you’d pay anything for that service when you can get the same thing at home. Well, not everyone has a gigantic plasma screen TV in their home (I’m talking HUGE), or multiple custom made sticks that work for multiple systems and all versions of all the latest games. If arcades or net cafe’s were to actually intend to provide and promote this service, it’d stand to reason that they’d also intend to provide the full service and not half ass it.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be intended to take the place of home play, but rather take the place of dying arcade play, and part of the purpose of arcade play is for casuals between random people, rather than pre-arranged matches. EG. being able to show up whenever you want and play against random people, as apposed to a pre-arranged date with people you know.

Of course, there’s more to arcades than just that, such as being accessible during regular hours on weekdays and weekends (as apposed to home life which isn’t always accessible). The purpose of an arcade or net cafe with console support would be to emulate the 2D and 3D fighting game arcade experience, not the home experience.

For arcades, the cost of said equipment is vastly cheaper than purchasing an arcade cabinet, which is even more apparent when multiple games are supported by the same equipment (making the equipment a one time only purchase for universal use between games). This is obvious to anyone who purchases their own consoles and has ever seen the price of a brand new cabinet.

Arcades are already losing money and slowly dying out, or at least their support for fighters certainly is. I would think that any potential viable and/or profitable alternative would be something to seriously consider, even if it’s just an add-on rather than a total conversion.

This would help on the cost of keeping the arcade alive. Many arcades can’t afford games or can’t justify the risk of purchasing a game that may turn out bad. I would think it’d actually generate a profit.

I don’t know of the legality of any of this, though… Perhaps legality issues are why arcades haven’t started supporting consoles after all these years?

Does anyone know if arcades can legally support consoles and charge for that service?

Can anyone think of other alternatives?

General thoughts?


#2

This is a GREAT idea, but, sadly, I doubt it will ever evolve this way.


#3

Yeah. It’s called online play and X-Box Live.

Stargate arcade in Houston tried going that route, offering console play. The locals wouldn’t bite, the arcade nearly bit the dust.

While it IS nice to play other people in person (some actually prefer it), to most nothing really beats playing against someone in the comfort of one’s own home. In addition, why are you going to pay hourly fees to play someone while most likely you have that same console, and could be playing for free?

It’s a great idea, but it is not a financially viable option for any businesses.


#4

Insaniac2’s friend is doing this concept. I had the same idea too, but I don’t have the funds to make it happen.

But here’s my idea:

A room with TV’s connected to Xboxes, PS2s, and GCs. Bring your own controller, and all consoles have extension cords to them (to prevent wearing out of ports on the consoles). Post what games are available for each system (all modded with hard drives (with real copies as backups for legal purposes)).

Charging:

$5.00 a day (the whole day, from open to close)
$10.00 a week
$20.00 a month

Hold different tournaments for different days of the week. They don’t have to be fighting games (considering there are shitloads of non-fighting competitive games that are way more popular). And you have to pay to enter tournaments. Entree fee goes to the pot. Tournaments are held at certain times. Probably after work hours (8PM-11:00PM).

Example:
Monday: FPS tournaments
Tuesday: Sports game tournaments
Wed: Fighting game tournaments
Thurs: Puzzle game tournaments
Fri: racing game tournaments

Weekends: casual play or major tournaments

Put a smoothie king in it, and you should be set.


#5

good point


#6

That’s rather disheartening to hear.

I guess that’s the same concept of: “why would people go to arcades and pay money to play in the first place, when they have the same games at home?”

Well, I can’t argue the virtues of online play. But even video game genre’s that are played predominately online, there’s a certain level of importance for off-line multi-play. Especially when off-line play is open to the public in a place of business/public setting.

I think the biggest and most obvious issue is lag. While players are able to adapt to lag, it’s not always the best experience and can be rather frustrating. Perhaps even more-so in genre that heavily depends on tight execution and very fast reflexes. Then there’s the whole other bag of chips that involves human interaction and community and whatnot, which I don’t think can be entirely overlooked.

FPS games, for example, are mostly played online. But even so, lan parties and lan tournaments are widely popular and very important.

Granted, small parties can be set up at the comfort of ones home with the necessary equipment, but not everyone can accommodate large parties and tournaments. And usually said parties or tournaments happen on certain dates to pre-arranged guests and not 24/7 and open to the public. I believe there is a certain ammount of value to be put on being able to meet up with random people at a local arcade at any time during the arcade’s business hours (which you use to be able to do) and have a good time.

Also, as previously stated, not everyone has a gigantic plasma screen TV in their home, or multiple custom made sticks that work for multiple systems and all versions of all the latest games. I believe a lot of people are willing to pay up some extra cash for the sake of convenience and quality. And I would think business could afford better equipment and maintain said equipment than the average casual player.

[Edit]: I already know this scenario exists where players do shell out the extra cash to play 2D fighters at a cyber cafe on a weekly basis.


#7

this same idea was done in baton rouge
they had great service, a TON of games, 2 big screens, like 8 tvs, and projector, a jamma 3rd strike set up, an mvc2 cab,etc
the problem is its hard to generate a lot of revenue even with the rather committed customer based they had
but makes for a great place to hang out in


#8

what works in Korea CANNOT work over here.
their gaming culture is geared towards the online pc gaming aspect.

as of now, the online console market is still relatively small.
Besides, only the 3d games would be viable. 2d games will NEVER have super-lag free environments. Kaillera is proof of that. It’s been tried…unless you have a godly internet base like Korea does… :sad:

Here in DFW, there’s an internet cafe in the mall; it’s NEVER packed. in Animation Town arcade, the best business still comes the casual arcade players. yay. arcades > dorky internet.


#9

Scrubs are pretty much where all money comes from, in any field. Pop music scrubs are the ones who buy a million Britney Spears albums. TV scrubs are the ones who keep 50 seasons of bad reality TV going. It’s all about fairweather idiots who don’t like to think too hard.

These people need to play online. They don’t want to lose in front of real people, they’re like those punks on CS who yell “fucking ch33t! You HACK, I know you do!”.

So, there, then, yet, the situation is screwed on entry. You have a super-niche market that’s schismed already (arcade vs console) and a mainstream that doesn’t care enough to play either. So whaddaya do?

N - Meeting, then I’ll try to figure out something.


#10

I know how you feel but to be honest, I hate playing online, I just hate the lag. If it changes then maybe I would change my feelings about it. I definitely think a console cafe would work in Atlanta. Since we have virtually no good arcade at all. I just met mad folks from Atlanta this weekend at Anime weekend atlanta, playing 3S and CvS2. Just that there is no good arcade. People basically stopped going to them here because the employees didn’t care to fix the sticks. Well I think if you made the price reasonable enough, people would come. Just speaking for Atlanta, if we could get it in a good location that would work too. I just know there is willingness to go out here, not just play at peoples house. I mean we have been doing that for ages here in ATL, playing console in the house. But with so many peepz in different places that’s kinda hard, plus a lot of people don’t really like going to people’s houses to play games. I think for it to work is to have sections for all kinds of gaming. Would love to set up some arcade sticks as well for fighters. We also really don’t have a place to do game tournaments either. So did Stargate offer console gaming on the side? Is that the reason it almost bit the dust?


#11

That’s funny, I was just thinking about this the other day…

It’s true that you can “just play at home” on console, but I do believe there are some definite virtues to having a public place offer console gaming.

For example:

  • Cafe: Open on weekdays and weekends during business hours. This would give a lot of players who are in school/work the ability to get some game-time in during the week, without extensive planning. Home: Gaming happens only when the players are available.
  • Cafe: Could provide very nice equipment, such as large and/or high quality T.V.'s, high quality sound systems, variety of games and consoles, and perhaps even custom arcade sticks for various consoles. Home: Equipment restricted by what the players have available.
  • Cafe: Open to the public, which means there’s a chance occurance of some people meeting people they’ve never played against before. Home: Private, which means the same people practically every time.
  • Cafe: Advertisements. Since it’s a business, part of it’s job would be to find new customers to bring in, which means potential new players. Home: Random and infrequent chance encounters with people, usually through online contacts (such as SRK).
  • Cafe: Could house large tournaments due to the volume of equipment. Home: Limited equipment means smaller or much slower tournament.
  • Cafe: Could provide other services, or be local to other stores providing other services, like food and drink. Home: Whatever the players have available.

The cost of equipment should be much smaller for a TV, console, and stick than it would be for an arcade cabinet.

And when there is literally no local arcade in the area, players have little choice but to play at home.

Online play would be a really outstanding answer if the lag wasn’t so much of an issue. Sadly, it is an issue. One that a lot of players aren’t comfortable with. Especially when transitioning between online and offline play.

I think in order for such a place to really work, it would have to provide quite a lot. It would probably need just about every gaming console system ever made, plus numerous computers hooked up on LAN, with a large variety of computer games available on each. Good music, good location, and hot employees would certainly help too.

I would also think that having very frequent tournaments for numerous different games would also help with promotion and help generate profit.

I hope the ones that do still exist are doing well.


#12

Xeno, what you listed would be a great business plan, the only thing is, we need to find people to DO it. These ideas don’t come into peoples brains that just focus on the cafe side of it.

Hell, how much is an investment for just starting off with one flat 20/32 inch tv and renting it out to people? Even buying all the systems (bring your own controlers, or number them and give them out when the thing is rented) and letting them play whatever games they bring is not a huge deal.

And your right Xeno, it’s about PROMOTION AND ADVERTISING. What arcades in the past did advertising?!?!?! CHUCK E CHEESE’S ASS DOESN’T COUNT.

I’m thinking about doing something like this where I live since I have the time (just no resources…yet.)


#13

Yeah Xeno you got some of the same ideas I do. Maybe we should collabo? I have heard of console cafe’s that have done well, a while back on here. I think in NC. I wonder what they did. As far as other services, definitely need it for something like this to work I guess. Especially the cafe part. I think something directed towards anime fans would work well. So are you thinking of doing one yourself?


#14

Xeno, Parry, and Eric should team up and create the greatest arcade ever made. Hell, it might almost make up for the fact that Casey’s french!


#15

We started playing games at a cybercafe here… we don’t pay when we play. It might appear that the cafe would lose money from this, but from my observations a lot of people who go end up buying time to spend on the net inbetween matches or to surf the web/chat during breaks from playing. The place also sells drinks and snacks so money is made off that too.

I actually prefer it to the arcade - I never have to deal with broken sticks and buttons since I am using my own sticks, I can play whatever I want (we were playing X-Men vs Street Fighter on Saturn this weekend), and I can use a PC to play WOW or to chat whenever I get bored of playing SF or inbetween matches.


#16

That sounds like a sweet setup you have. Wish more owners would have them.


#17

That wouldn’t be a bad idea! And the french fail at many things, but I think that I could pull this off (with all the thinking I’ve been doing as of late.)


#18

Shit don’t work. They do this at a local college campus with 4 fuckin tvs. Idiots always bitch when you put on a game that is either

a: an snk game

b: any game besides mvc2 or cvs2


#19

Anyone ever consider an arcade/cafe hybrid?

That combined with the way TGA works (Pay an entry fee for unlimited games all day) might go somewhere.

Add in a fairly large TV (or a few) for people to hook up consoles too and you may have something even better.


#20

To add, console cafe’s are alot safer as well. You take a gamble on inviting a stranger to your home. While he may post here alot what if he/she brings a friend who seems nice but is really shady as fuck. The console cafe in my opinion is a great alternative to the arcade, it just needs to be pulled off. I’ve been thinking about opening up a buisness as well when I get out of school, but the problem with Tucson and other small towns is videogames are really far down their on the to do list. People are trying to get out of their small hometowns and move on to something biggger and “better”. It’s still worth a shot.

Online play was cool and all but the lag kills it. I could add Az. peeps to play in SF but it never works out that way(never on when I’m on it seems) so I end playing someone from god knows where that lags. It’s frustrating to read tips and strategies but not being able to implent them 'cuz of a shitty connection.