By Howard McAuliffe, Pinnacle Entertainment Group
For several years arcades in many, if not most, Americans minds, were viewed as a relic from the past or a place to take kids.  Parents dreaded taking their kids to a loud facility with bad food and cheap prizes.  This is not the case in 2018, the industry is booming and evolving rapidly.  It’s an exciting time to be in this industry, and I wanted to list my top 3 most exciting aspects of our renaissance.
  • We are a multi-generational entertainment offering. Pinball, video games, cranes, and redemption games have been popular to various levels since the 1950s.  Everyone from baby boomers to millennials played games as kids or young adults.
  • The Fair Play pledge proves we are an industry focused on our collective customers, and are aware that reputation is as important as ever and can be destroyed faster than ever.
  • Virtual Reality is one of the hottest technologies in the world currently and our industry is investing in and developing these technologies for the out of home market.
The pinball industry as well as video game industries both had well documented booms and busts.   Internally we often discuss what are potential threat and how could this business model be hurt of changed.  Here are the top 3 threats I see to our renaissance
  • Saturation, institutional investors are investing in our industry, which is a good thing. However, if investment leads to irrational spending that could hurt the profitability of facilities as well as suppliers.
  • Gas price spikes. Gas prices directly affect the ability of customers to spend on entertainment.  If gas prices were to rise drastically it would hurt profitability.
  • Legal Overreach- The Fair Play Pledge is a great step towards keeping this from happening. However, legal limits or bans could have a major negative impact if we don’t remain vigilant.
I’m planning on enjoying this renaissance for years to come.  If we continue to improve our offerings and adapt to cultural and technological changes, this is just the beginning of a great era.