Arcade Stick Business, advice? :3

Hey guys. New to the forum. My mind has been pondering over the last few days about conducting an online arcade case business. So I thought to get some feedback from the community.

With a lot of competition going on, what I want to try and inspire is a premium arcade case at a very minimal cost(plus legitimate worldwide shipping rates). How could it be done? Well I would be working in my own home hand making them after hours, so I wouldn’t employ anyone, nor rent a place.

After seeing a few threads on this website regarding custom home made arcade cases, I was wondering if there is a market for this? Do people actually buy home made custom cases off indie sites? Or just buy mainstream content since anyone can make their own at home? My ball with that is that they’d have to spend a bit on the tools and materials, so it works out to be expensive that way.

I don’t really have a “hip” or new artistic style in mind for the design of the case, just a generic thin rectangular prism shape with good quality wood, polished, plexiglass above and below for interior viewing, a double sided mirror with a transparent graphic image (and maybe interior LED lights for a type of hover visual). After checking out some sites and calculating costs, the materials for a standard arcade case should cost about $25 (wood, plexiglass, screws, paint/polish, maybe LED lights), but I haven’t seen any case for this price… that looks remotely decent to say the least. The rest is all just machinery and labor. Which is where I think I could benefit from this business.

Anyway, tips, ideas, suggestions for an indie developer, if this is a terrible idea, I’d like to hear it.

You could start with a prototype to showcase your skills, this would be a good way to get interest. If you are able to undercut cost on some of the other custom cases, you would have some interested people for sure. I would say build one, calculate your cost plus labor, and you will get a good idea of what you can charge, and if it would be worth it.

Yes what Jay said, you need some prototype or demo models to show off. Not too many people make quality cases at home due to the cost of tools can outway the benefits of buying an existing case or buying a stick retail. So there is a small niche market for cases and the FGC counts for only so much, you might also want to reach the MAME, Shmup, NEO GEO and other gaming communities to broaden your customer base.

Brush up on your photography skills as you will need them.

You also want to factor your material cost Plus your labor and any difficulty with your labor if you hope to turn a profit.

Another thing you want to do is get active here at SRK and other forums, build a rapport with the forum users. Let them gain trust and confidence with you. People will sooner buy from someone they know and trust before they buy from some new guy. Please note the trading forum rules for later, the minimum 6 months + 50 post counts to sell via the trading outlet.
Get involved with social media, facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, You tube, tumblr

The first excerpt is why I went with Agetec cases instead of trying to get wood or metal cases. A retro-case is more economical even if I’m paying $50 just for the case. It’s still less than trying to custom build a joystick case. Custom joysticks case can go well over $100 just for an empty case, OR become a big pain to customize and paint like MDF is. A pre-made, vacuu-formed plastic case is probably a better, more economical solution for most of us.

Of course, you have to find the RIGHT retro-case that suits YOUR STYLE and actually has the space for quality arcade parts! There weren’t many of those made before 1998. I can count on one hand, 3 fingers TOPS, the number of good quality joysticks made pre-1998 that actually have room to fit in arcade parts and an alternate third-party PCB control board. Most retro-cases from the earlier part of the 1990s and late 1980s are just too small to fit replacement joysticks let alone arcade buttons without some serious part modding or shed tears…

Good photography can’t be overstressed.

I’m sorry, folks, but more of us have to use a still camera or at least a camcorder with still photo options.

Cellphone camera imagery generally STINKS because those built-in cameras are not the highest-quality equipment, have low pixel resolution, and generally not-so-great flash that captures a lot of red eyes.

If you have to borrow a digital still camera, borrow it… Don’t rely on cellphone cameras to get your points across. Cellphone imagery is just generally ugly and not the best way to sell ideas.

It just really needs to be stayed that custom cases are never really a cheap alternative. You spend too much on tools, parts and labor for that.

Advice is come up with a unique/appealing design. There are too many choices now to be relevant with the bare minimum of effort.

If you are in this to make money then it is not a good idea.