Given proper planning and installation, most game rooms are designed these days with a selection of game machines optimized for maximum fun and profitability.
Maintaining that selection, however, is far more than just a matter of initial design and implementation. For family entertainment centers with game rooms more than a few years old, updates are required to bring the mix of games more closely into line with recommended ratios of redemption to video games, etc. And industry experts suggest that even locations with brand new game rooms should replace 5-10% of their games each year in order to keep the room looking fresh and earnings strong.
The problem, of course, is that none of this refreshing comes for free. How, with limited resources, can location owners keep their rooms on the cutting edge, and prevent what’s fresh from turning overfamiliar?
For most locations, the best solution to this problem is to trade in arcade games on a regular basis. Indeed, distributors like Betson offer a variety of trade-in programs designed both to help you upgrade your current games and to facilitate the purchase of new equipment that appeals to your clientele.
Here are some of the key benefits of adding a trade-in program to your business plan:
While there’s certainly a place for “retro” and classic cabinets in any game room, the last thing you want is to feel stuck with a collection of stale games that discourages repeat play (and repeated visits!) from your patrons.
Trading in your outdated arcade games is a simple and straightforward way to avoid this problem. When you bring in new and state-of-the-art equipment, your game room will feel refreshed again. Regular customers will return more often and spend more money to try your latest games, and first-time customers will be drawn to the novelty of titles they haven’t seen before.
Adding new games also enables you to update your floor plan. Moving existing games around—along with featuring your state-of-the-art acquisitions—helps to present a more profitable impression of freshness and makes your updates and additions even more pronounced.
If there’s one thing that defines the arcade-game industry, it’s a commitment to constant innovation. Arcade games are growing ever bigger and better, and their persistent reinvention makes them some of the principal draws—as well as, almost inevitably, the biggest per-capita earners—in any well-designed family entertainment center.
But this same quality can cut the other way, too. Because they depend so much on novelty to drive interest, some arcade games can carry a shorter maximum earnings life than more permanent workhorses like Skee-Ball alleys and basketball games.
Savvy location owners, along with assistance from their partner distributors, will regularly evaluate the game reports generated by their card systems. When games start to earn less relative to their overall room earnings, trading them in for cutting-edge products can offer a reasonable way to maintain maximum revenue from your game room.
As the points above suggest, leveraging your older games to acquire the latest industry offerings can be a source of additional revenue in and of itself.
But when you trade in your existing arcade games for the biggest and newest pieces on the market, you don’t just get those new games alone. You also gain access to the networks of marketing materials [link] that accompany the latest offerings from major manufacturers like Raw Thrills, Bay Tek, ICE, Stern, and beyond. When used in conjunction with your own social media platforms, materials like these help to build excitement and provide incentives that bring people to your door.
Consumers want to know what the latest games are, where they can find them, and why they should leave their consoles and couches to spend money in your facility. Trading up for the newest games—and capitalizing on marketing and social media tools that accompany them—is an excellent way to ensure a continuing flow of foot traffic into your game room.
We live in a golden age of family entertainment centers. Evermore varied and fascinating arcade offerings, developed by different manufacturers and spanning dozens of completely different game categories, are constantly emerging to meet the demands of the burgeoning FEC marketplace.
An often-overlooked aspect of trade-in programs is the opportunity they provide to individualize your game room: to depart in creative directions from the same assortment of games that a competing location may choose to feature. By trading up to innovative products that appeal directly to your particular brand of customer, you can claim experiences that are all your own, and differentiate yourself along the way from your competitors.
Whether you are looking to create a uniquely creative gaming space, to avail yourself of the marketing power that accompanies big-ticket arcade offerings, to differentiate yourself from the competition, or just to maintain your revenue by keeping fresh arcade options at the center of your game room, the most significant benefit of trading in your arcade games is also the simplest: trade-in programs reduce your cost for new equipment.
Most of your arcade games, after all—even those that are generating lower income—carry plenty of value, and when you leverage that value against the cost of acquiring the latest equipment, you reduce your capital outlay and set yourself more affordably on the way to greater revenue. You can also take advantage of the great finance and leasing programs that are available, which will help to keep your out-of-pocket spending minimal when working to refresh your room.
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Jonathan Betti is Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development for Betson Enterprises. Jon and the Betson team are focused on providing customer-centric products and solutions for the location-based entertainment business. Jon is passionate about the arcade space and has worked with manufacturers to develop several successful game concepts. He is also a board member of the AAMA Charitable Foundation.