Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What are the criticisms being leveled at online games and jukes?

A friend of RePlay's recently pointed out the considerable resistance to fees for downloading jukeboxes and online games among operators. What is the objection rooted in, considering that the servers for these machines have resulted in greater functionality and therefore generally increased revenues? If fees are part of the way manufacturers maintain their networks and the way content providers receive their due share, where does the resistance lie? Is it part of the general feeling of being nickeled and dimed by too many fees already or something more specific?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest criticisms is the basic "Leave my cashbox alone!" mentality. The floodgates appear to be opened, and now every manufacturer seems to want a piece of what *I* (and my partner/locations) make. If it's so important to make X amount of dollars so that they can run tournaments and give away prizes and what not, put that money in the price of the machine up front.

Now, some manufacturers will say that it's impossible to do that, that the amount of usage fluctuates, etc. Big deal. Want some cheese with that whine? Let's take the oldest example of Golden Tee Live. They started the whole thing, and it was a great thing...for a while. However, especially with the new platform, they wanted a ludicrously large sum of money for the machine itself, *and* a monthly charge to Sprint, *and* their monthly fees. Couple those missteps with a dying interest in the genre, and the fact that they absolutely killed the game itself, and it's just a loser.

But that's not where it ended...no, of course not! Now there's what, umpteen different manufacturers wanting us to put their machines online under the guise that *we'll* make more money. Garbage...*they* benefit far more than we do. I mean, shoot, GlobalVR, Merit, IT, TouchTunes, E-Cast, Sega...and that's just off the top of my head! Many of these manufacturers have multiple, if not many, machines that "can best be enjoyed online!"

GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF MY CASHBOX!

The partial exception to the rule would be the new jukes that require downloading tunes, as those aren't free to anyone, and the relief of not buying CDs anymore, paying for licenses, etc. is certainly a benefit. Still, I abhor all these hands in my pocket.

Charge me more up front, and let me decide if your machine is worth what the *actual* cost of the machine will be. This back door ballyhoo isn't fooling anyone, or at least I hope it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's frustrating to have all these "hands in my pocket" but at the same time, the world is changing, and so is our industry. Don't change, get left behind.

Would I prefer not to have a hand in my pocket, yes, but that's not a reality any longer, so the question becomes, whose hand am I willing to tolerate? As such, it is extremely important to do a proper analysis of new equipment - test in locations, ask fellow operators, question the manufacturers - before making a significant investment and/or committment to sharing revenue. If the ROI is solidly there, it's a good business decision, and the "hand in my pocket" complaint becomes an emotional reaction.

I've had mixed luck with online tournaments, phenomenal success with ecast downloaders. The view conversion kits, tied with the cashback rebates from ecast, make it a no-brainer. The ROI is there, and then some. A good deal is one where everyone makes money, right?

I actually think we need more innovation in this industry tied to content and revenue sharing.

Anonymous said...

As a manufacturer, I can tell you that the costs to develop, manufacture and market new video games are astronomical. Add in the costs to maintain the backend network and it seems reasonable to ask operators and locations for a "piece of the cashbox."

If we don't create new games that attract and entertain, then operators will only have pool tables, dart boards and jukes to rely on. Can you operate your routes profitably with only that equipment?

It never ceases to amaze me to walk into a popular, hopping bar only to see no one playing the video games there. But upon closer inspection, the answer is always the same: old, tired equipment. Yawn...

Nothing stimulates a gamer like a new game. Same with pinball. Pinball lovers will ALWAYS try out a new pin. Conversely, nothing is more "yesterday" than an old video game or pinball machine.

How do we get operators to buy new equipment? What do we need to do to convince you to try something new?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr MFG,

How about coming up with new games that not only work but actually MAKE MONEY? I am so tired of hearing from both distribution and mfg about how great this new piece is when in reality it sucks. I have been in business for over 25 years and have forgot more than most salesmen know. We as operators will buy new equipment as long as we can make a return on our investment. Just ask Merit,JVL and Touchtunes how business is to name a few companies that produce product that not only makes money but has legs too. I would love to know which company you are from and see how many of your companies products that I have tried in the past that didn't hold up to your claims. How is that the games of yesteryear made money and did not require cashbox sharing and you cant do that now? Maybe your expenses for the "backend" are out of line? Like the cost of advertising in the locations trade journals to try and create demand for your sub-par products, Or the cost of wining and dining the salespeople from dist. to try to convince them how good your product is. If you can convince the salespeople to sell your product then somthing is really wrong with both your product and them. If you would like to discuss this further please let me know

Anonymous said...

Gee, golly, gosh, well thank you, Mr. Manufacturer Representative! So, what you're saying is that I need to buy new equipment for my route so that I'll make money! I wish I'd already known that...thanks so much for your valuable advice!

Here's an idea: scrap the online crap and make some new street-worthy machines that *make me want to* spend my money! The last significant investment I made into my route, games-wise, was Silver Strike Bowling. I asked around about it, decided to try it out, and ended up buying a good number of them for my route. It's a great game, and while earnings on it have certainly flattened out a bit, it did some very good things on my route, including instituting $1 per play. This was a very reasonably-priced kit that went into already owned cabinets from IT, looked great, earned great, and pleased me.

But still, I knew what was coming.

SSB2007! I've bought a sum total of -zero- updates for the machines. None. Should I try it out? Not according to any other ops around here, who say it's done -zero- for them. Even the local op who everyone knows is in bed with IT says that it's not worth it, and he's far larger than I am, with some seriously nice locations.

Why on earth would I pay $800-900 for an update to a BOWLING game? Not only that, but there's the monthly fee to Sprint (previously mentioned), -and- they want money out of my cashbox, too? What kind of premium am I getting for this? I'll tell you: absolutely jack squat. No one's doing better updating this machine, the "monthly contests" aren't pulling any more cash in, and all it does is make me (and my customers) waste money. Essentially, they're asking me to pay to lose money. I'm going from making $1 per play to $.95 per play, plus update cost, fees, and more.

It's a BOWLING game, for pete's sake. Bowling goes for-stinking-ever. How many of us still have working, earning World Class Bowlings out there on the street? Heck, I know ops that still operate Krazy Bowl and Capcom Bowling, and they STILL PULL.

You want my money? Here's an idea: EARN it. Lest you think I don't try new things, or buy new equipment, I just ordered a Vortex from JVL today to give a try on the route. I've been Merit-only, but I'm giving JVL a try because of the good things I've heard, because of the earnings I see in stats I've read, and most importantly: because JVL is getting AWAY from the stupid, ancient technology that Merit continues to rely on. I am dead sick of replacing hard drives all the time.

I was especially amused by the pinball comment. I wouldn't operate pinball unless I -had- to to keep my best locations happy. Pinball may be fun, but it's an absolute pain to maintain, and if I get $30 a week out of a pinball machine, I'd do cartwheels. This is coming from someone who keeps his pins clean and working, too. Pinball is what I call my "loss leader." Money-earners: pokers, jukes, pool, touchscreens. Everything else seems to basically be background fodder to these machines.

It would please me to no end to see more companies use their stinking brains and make sturdy, good-earning machines or kits for the street. Companies like Raw Thrills are getting me to open my wallet, too.

I'm not stingy, and I know that I have to spend money to make money. All this online crap needs to die, though.

Anonymous said...

As a manufacturer, I can tell you that the costs to develop, manufacture and market new video games are astronomical. Add in the costs to maintain the backend network and it seems reasonable to ask operators and locations for a "piece of the cashbox."

Yeah, OK... a free operating system (Linux)running on subpar off-the-shelf computer parts, all mounted in a sawdust and glue cabinet. Development costs are NO WAY what they used to be.

then operators will only have pool tables, dart boards and jukes
I can't speak for other operators, but when I look at our equipment earnings over a long period of time, guess what equipment earns consistently month after month, year after year? It sure as hell isn't our video games! It's the "only haves" you listed.

Anonymous said...

It sure as hell isn't our video games! It's the "only haves" you listed.

We're sympatico on this point, but I do have one question for you: do your darts really do that well for you? That's one area on my route that I've not seen as a real moneymaker for me. Don't get me wrong, I don't lose money on them, but they aren't exactly in the same league with my jukes, pool, and touchscreens (and of course, -nothing- touches the pokers).

Here's an oddity for the manufacturing guy again: why are the Ms. Pac/Galaga combos still selling 5 YEARS after they started making them? I mean, Pac-Man has always been available in the machine, so it's 3-in-1, but why do ops like me keep buying them?

I'll tell you why: they *earn*. These machines may not be the most glamorous machine in any location I have them at, but, week after week, they always, and I do mean -always- pull. They're consistent. They have terrific ROI. They're not going to be the highest-earning machine anywhere, but they're workhorses.

Spare me your moaning about "high development costs" and "backend network" BS. I haven't seen any operators demanding across-the-board online networked games, anywhere. In short, -you- are the ones that are creating a supposed "demand" for all this stuff, and we all understand why that is. "Backend networking." Well, I at least agree with your use of the word "backend." That's where I feel like you're trying to screw me.

If you folks can make machines that people want to play and keep them relatively affordable for those of us who need to buy them, I guarantee my wallet's open now, and will be in the future. Don't assume that we don't see your desire to get into our cashbox, and don't treat us as though we're stupid or cheap when we don't want to buy into your silly tirading about "high development costs." That's a laugh.

There are some companies that are doing it right, and when they do, the money certainly follows.

Anonymous said...

hello Mr. Mfg

WHERE ARE YOU?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Mfg,

Still no comment?
O wait a minute it's the weekend and guys like you don't work the weekend only dumb operators like me who need your knowledge and years (maybe months or even weeks) of experiance to earn a living

sales guy said...

How much would poker machines earn if they didn't payout?

How much do offline Golden Tee's earn vs. online?

Same for Silver Strike?

How do your cd jukeboxes earn vs digital?

How much do Dart machines and Pool tables earn without leagues?

Operators who run contests, promotions AND leagues for online games make more money period? The facts are staggering.

Look at nationwide operator groups that are forming (Club Lucky, Club Nation, etc). They could not exist if it weren't for online video games. Their machines earn big money and sustain these levels because the promotion savvy operators are maximizing the machines capabilities. These same operators seem to be getting larger and larger and are not complaining. The are seeing a fantastic opportunity to expand their business and increase their profitability.

Online or offline, I believe that most manufacturers give you a choice. It is your decision to choose which version works best for your route.

Anonymous said...

>How much would poker machines earn if they >didn't payout?

Not much. What's your point? This has nothing to do with the topic.

>How much do offline Golden Tee's earn vs. online?

That's an interesting question. Do you mean "these days," or "back in the day?" I can tell you that without a doubt, back in the day, it made a difference. Today, not much difference, especially since the new platform has tanked.

>Same for Silver Strike?

Again, I don't personally have any, but from every indication I get from other local ops, including the one that's in bed with IT, it hasn't done any better for them at all. The aforementioned op said it did well for -one- collection, and then fell back to previous levels.

I'm not seeing too many of these out on the street, either, for this reason, and others. I see -plenty- of SSBs, but the updates aren't happening.

>How do your cd jukeboxes earn vs digital?

Again, interesting you should say this. In my best juke locations, it's surely made a positive difference. Digital jukes aren't something I'd be as critical of as games. Downloading music is paid for whether you operate or don't, and with the elimination of buying CDs, licenses, etc., they offer the operator a great deal of convenience.

But not without cost. Put a digital juke in the wrong location, and it sits there actually making less money because the clientelle doesn't like it. "It's too hard to work!" "Why does this song cost $.50 and this one's $1?" "I liked the old one that had our favorite music for a quarter!"

>How much do Dart machines and Pool tables earn >without leagues?

Leagues are set up by operators, not the manufacturers. Again, completely different from the topic at hand.

>Operators who run contests, promotions AND >leagues for online games make more money >period? The facts are staggering.

Are you asking me or telling me? I can still run contests, promotions, and leagues for many of these same machine offline, and I do! Cash bonuses for a perfect game of SSB? Longest drive in GT? The list goes on.

The fact is, I don't need some manufacturer taking money out of my earnings to do this.

>Look at nationwide operator groups that are >forming (Club Lucky, Club Nation, etc). They could >not exist if it weren't for online video games. Their >machines earn big money and sustain these levels >because the promotion savvy operators are >maximizing the machines capabilities. These same >operators seem to be getting larger and larger and >are not complaining. The are seeing a fantastic >opportunity to expand their business and increase >their profitability.

So you say. Who's to say that this same growth wouldn't happen without the online component? Again, even the most online-happy op I know of tells me it's wearing thin, especially with the direction it's heading of every manufacturer doing this. It's ridiculous.

>Online or offline, I believe that most manufacturers >give you a choice. It is your decision to choose >which version works best for your route.

No kidding. I'm offline as much as is humanly possible to be. I pay where I need to, but hate every bit of it, and resist as much as possible.

But you're wrong at least to one degree. When IT released GT Live, if you wanted in, you -could not- be offline. Am I right or wrong on that? You know I'm right. I have bought some GTL kits, when they finally buckled and introduced the offline versions. It was a royal -pain- to get them, but they finally caved. Why was that?

I'll tell you why: GT Live tanked, and they -want- those online revenues. It tanked -badly-. From the time it was on test, to this very day, it's been a huge disappointment. Revenues are down, golf is dying (if not dead), and they've been discounting, extending warranties, offering new types of kits--anything to keep their market share close to previous levels. They gambled and got hurt.

Let's be clear: if being online truly does offer greater earnings, as it did when GT Fore! came into its own, then I'm first in line for a ticket on that train. I'm also completely open to reasonable ideas when it comes to keeping up with current technology and making my life easier, as the digital jukes are doing.

But it's gotten way, way out of control. Instead of developing new ideas for machines, many manufacturers are just towing the line, being lazy, deciding that the online revenue is an easy way to keep operators buying useless yearly updates, -and- getting a piece of the cashbox.

I object. For what it's worth, I know I'm not the only one. Again, I thought (and still think) that Silver Strike Bowling is a great piece. If my best locations absolutely DEMAND online play, they'll have it. Until they do, forget it.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the position of the operators who have posted and understand their concerns, but what about the issue of manufacturers being compensated for the content and services they provide?

If the music companies and talent are entitled to a fee for the music they create/provide, why not video game manufacturers too? I understand that we must provide value and the cash box must reflect this, but if the value is there (compelling game play and the back-end network) why the great resistance to the fees?

All online games aren't dogs, are they?

Anonymous said...

Ironically, most manufacturers I have spoken to about online are losing their asses on it. Costs way more than it brings in. Even Touchtunes is still losing a ton of money. They had that one quarter before they went private where they were in the black, but have been in the red ever since.

Anonymous said...

>If the music companies and talent are entitled to a fee >for the music they create/provide, why not video >game manufacturers too? I understand that we must >provide value and the cash box must reflect this, but >if the value is there (compelling game play and the >back-end network) why the great resistance to the >fees?

Well, that's fairly well-said. There's a pretty big gap between what the juke companies are offering and what the online video game companies are offering. With the jukes, at least half of the deal is that the medium of music, as a whole, is fast changing to downloads. It's the distribution method of the present, and the foreseeable future. With the jukes, this is one of those "If you want to be an operator in 5 years, you have to have this type of equipment." times. It's must-have transition equipment. Sure, there's a flux time where both CD jukes and digital jukes can coexist, but in five years at the outset, those who continue to try to operate CD jukes in their best stops will find themselves open to being jumped by other ops who've kept up with the times.

With the games, it's a very different thing. It's not a must-do situation...the game companies are simply thrusting this upon ops, for the most part, oftentimes without even bothering to include a quality product to begin with (a show of hands, please: how many ops who bought Global VR's Madden game took an absolute -bath- on it?). It seems that manufacturers believe that it's some kind of mortal sin to not include online play, and hey! Guess what? As a side benefit, they've maneuvered their way into the operator's cashbox! BRILLIANT! There are some companies who are doing it right: you've got to love a company like Jarvis' Raw Thrills, who are making quality games for the street operator by using their brains, good sense, experience, and ingenuity. While I don't own every title they make, if I had the locations for them, I would. And yes, even they are bringing online play in with Big Buck Pro, but not without establishing the fact that they're out to produce a quality product first...one that can really -use- an online component.

>All online games aren't dogs, are they?

Not at all. As well, "All that glitters is not gold." "Online" does not equate to "makes more money." Any company that tries anything resembling strongarm tactics regarding online play and fees is going to raise eyebrows -and- tempers. IT tried some serious strongarming with GTLive (amusingly enough, the cover story on the current Playmeter issue is more gobbeltygook trying to paint Live in the best possible light...apparently all seen through rose-colored glasses), and they're trying again with Silver Strike. There is no way a bowling video game could conceivably be updated yearly and offer justifiable new content to operators or players. Absolutely -not-.

Let's not act like we don't know what's going on.

Anonymous said...

The last comments were well articulated and I know manufacturers reading this are appreciative that you took the time to respond.

That being said, are you looking forward to BBH Pro's tournament edition? What kind of price for the update will make sense to you, and what pricing model would be acceptable to you regarding their online fees?

Furthermore, what's your opinion of IT's Silver Strike Bowling sweepstakes? They've cut fees to a nickel a game and are providing big prizes for the winners. Are those incentives worth it to you to carry that product?

Thanks again for your contribution.

RePlay Editor said...

This topic has clearly struck a chord with operators and manufacturers, further illustrating just what we suspected: that online play remains a volatile subject. RePlay appreciates the input so far. Now that we have established the basis for debate, we want to reframe the question and hopefully drive the discussion in a more constructive direction.

For instance, operators complain that manufacturers don't make products that earn well enough. Based on their 'street knowledge,' what kind of games are their patrons seeking out these days? Are there as-yet-unintroduced aspects of online or prize-based competitive game play that operators believe would merit the additional expense of factory R&D and server support? In short, what kind of entertainment experiences are increasingly connected consumers seeking?

Manufacturers, distributors and operators are all bound together by the fate of this industry's products. Without innovative new products, the entire industry suffers. How can the three tiers work together, and earn together when it comes to online technology, to build a stronger future for all concerned?

Anonymous said...

Here's a reality check.

The main reason the average Operator doesn't like a manufacture in their cash box is because they create a earnings paper trail for the I.R.S..

Anonymous said...

The " Additional Partner " concept has plagued equipment operating in an internet connected system since day one, and I can not say it is not with good reason. It is comming to a time however that more and more location equipment may have to have some kind of Interactive function.

In some ways it is like history repeating itself. Remember when the big argument with the manufacturers was about them releasing home versions of comercially profitable Video Games ? At least at that point many of those early home games could not compete with visual quality and other features the coin-op versions had.

I in the early 90's we put a 45RPM Jukebox in a new location, the collections just wern't there. The location owner claimed his customers just " Didn't recognize singles " as the majority of them were more " Tuned In " to CD offerings. We finally ended up installing a CD Juke in order not to loose the location and the collections did pick up to an acceptable amount.

Turn the calandar ahead 20 years and I feel it is going to be a similar thing. The location partons ( in many locations, maybe not all ) will be " Tuned In " to downloading and may not be willing to accept anything less. A good majority location patrons are already doing this and more right in their own homes with modestly priced home (PC) equipment. Interactive games as well, so give it some thought are the " Hip " pay for play public going to accept less in the locations in the years to come ?

That is what I see the business comming to regardless of what additional dislikes many of us have about having to put certain pieces of our equipment in a situation where it is no longer an operator / location owner partnership.

Anonymous said...

There is a large difference between what the downloading juke manufacturers and the video game manufacturers are providing. Digital jukes are the next jump in technology for the industry, and they have to be adopted. Sure, we're all averse to dumping bucketloads of cash on something we "already have," but that's the way things work. If you want to stay in the business, you've got to remain competitive.

Downloaded music costs money, period. Doesn't matter if you're at home on your own PC or operating a digital juke...if you want to legitimately download music, you have to pay. I don't mind this particular expense, especially when I know that I no longer have to order, buy, receive, stock, open, place, and replace CDs any more. Eventually, my entire route will be digital jukes, and while I can't afford to transition my entire route to digital currently, it's in the process of happening. If I don't, I'll lose locations, and that's not an acceptable thing to me.

Video games with an online component are different. Not every single bloody game has to have some sort of idiotic contest/competition attached to it. The game should stand on its own, and in some cases be -left- alone. Silver Strike Bowling doesn't need an online tournament, nor will it ever need an online tournament. For IT to try and pull something like this bugs me a great deal, especially after I bought into the original game quite enthusiastically.

But really, if I want to give out "Valuable Cash And Prizes!!!," there are better ways for me to do that and keep money in my pocket. Stand alone merchandizers like Lighthouse and Stacker or any of their ilk are great ideas that are proven street earners. I guarantee you that anyone who doesn't stock those machines with semi-valuable prizes (at the -very- least $50-100 or so) sees a great drop in their revenues. Why do I need to pay a company to do for me what I already can, either through machine placement or local tournaments or contests (Longest Drive? Highest Score in SSB? Best Score in highlighted touchscreen game?)? Why do I want to pay -them- after I've already bought -their- machine? At that point, their machine should have one purpose in life: making -me- money. Me. Not them. Unless, of course, they want to greatly reduce the upfront expense of the machine that they're selling me. I have not seen this, ever, nor will I be holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

I find it odd that Replay would go to the trouble of asking "What are the criticisms being leveled at online games and jukes?" and then, when they get the answers they claim to seek, they wish to shuffle the topic into a more "positive" direction. Here's an idea: find out why every manufacturer thinks that online competitions will work across the board. It's hardly new any more...Golden Tee's been online since the turn of the millenium. It's also earning a lot worse than it used to, and yet ops are continally assaulted with ever-greater "opportunities" to have their machines online, with resulting fees, headaches, etc.

Here's the thing: when we -operators- start demanding online competition because our -customers- are saying that that's what they want, we, as operators, PROMISE to let the manufacturers know. Until then, it is what it looks like: a back-end move to get into our cashboxes, and we don't take kindly to it, especially when the games which are -supposed- to be making money for us, aren't doing what they promised to begin with.

Is it that hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments. Well spoken and concise.

Let me present this point, though. You say digital music is the future of the industry and you give very good reasons why you're going completely digital.

Yet you claim that video games don't need to be connected. That they should "stand on their own".

Why the dichotomy? The fastest growing video games at home are massive multi-player online games. Millions of players subscribe to these games.

The companies behind these MMPOG's create the game and provide constant content updates, and they are paid monthly for their on-going labor and efforts.

Even the AMOA admits that they need to explore ways to connect on-premise entertainment products to players in a closer fashion. They see online connectivity as the future in games as well as music.

If online games at home are successful, doesn't it follow that they could be successful in your locations too?

Anonymous said...

>Thanks for your comments. Well spoken and concise.

Thanks, I guess. I try to be.

>Why the dichotomy? The fastest growing video games >at home are massive multi-player online games. >Millions of players subscribe to these games.

Way, way, way, way, -way- different crowds, here. As a street op, I know my clients, and the people that patronize bars, clubs, and such, are, for the most part, not the same people who will sit down at their computers for hours on end to be a part of an online community, or "guild," or whatever those folks call themselves these days. Such people put in hours upon hours of play to learn, acclimate, befriend, etc. other online people.

Contrast that with the standard bar patron, who just wants to kill a few minutes of time with some mindless play. The key word here is -minutes-, not hours, or days, or weekends. A quick game of golf or bowling? Sure! Blast away a few terrorists into oblivion? You bet! Hear my favorite 5-minute song? All right! A game of pool? Yeah!

A 4-hour quest to unify the elves with the fairies? On a bar stool? Um, no.

>Even the AMOA admits that they need to explore >ways to connect on-premise entertainment >products to players in a closer fashion. They see >online connectivity as the future in games as well >as music.

You're still talking about apples and pizza, here. Digital jukes deliver a medium to our patrons via a changed format that needs to be adopted for future use. Online video games aren't offering anything new or substantial, and haven't for quite a while. Even worse, they're taking perfectly good street pieces (like the aforementioned SSB) and trying to make it into a yearly thing, as though they're actually going to provide "new content." That sound you hear is me laughing myself into various stages of arterial hemorraging.

>If online games at home are successful, doesn't it >follow that they could be successful in your >locations too?

It has been done (to a degree) in the form of Golden Tee...but the current form is looking rather, oh, how can I put this? Oh, yes: "poor in the earnings department." It sure seems to be dead, or at the very least, dying. Perhaps online play, in this particular form, has run its course.

That being said, I'm not convinced that it can't work under the right circumstances again. The obvious thing is that the desire of the -players- needs to be there. Peter Jacobson's Golden Tee Golf was out for several years before it took the leap to online play in the form of GT Fore! Players kept dropping coin into those machines, and IT did a good thing in recognizing the players' demands.

See the difference? Online play isn't the -standard-, it's the result of a good machine gaining popularity with players, and them wanting to have online play included. Or at least it should be. I don't see that as a necessity in Silver Strike Bowling, or the Merit countertops, or Madden, or any number of other machines.

Prove the value of the machine by its earnings first. Then let the players tell me what they want. I'll be the first in line to buy online machines that my players are demanding.

Anonymous said...

>Then let the players tell me what >they want. I'll be the first in line >to buy online machines that my >players are demanding.

What are the players wanting at this point? It would be great if the discussion could go in this direction.

Anonymous said...

The last time I looked these manufacturers arent exactley fat
and healthy ,it is time for a new business model.You have no idea
how many operators think IT is taking 20% from there GT Lives,not factoring
in the credits to their account at the end of the month,these are the guys running around the shows telling everyone this.The jukebox model is an unbeleivable deal for operators $1500
for a kit to triple your net .How can anyone complain.
As for making new games sure I would love to see great street kits and games for a good price ,I am sure the manufacturers are trying to get this illusive Winner,they are all looking for the next street fighter
We have to make do with what we have
untill then

Anonymous said...

Golden Tee Live tanked because pompous & Arrogant IT felt they were too good to display at both the AMOA & ASI shows.

Good for them

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here's a player's perspective:

The future of coin-op gaming is clearly in online games. This really isn't even open for debate.

Golden Tee Live - IT is one of the least efficiently run and least responsive companies out there for the players. I can imagine that they treat their operators slightly better but not by a whole lot.

That being said, the game would not exist without the online component. Players want to play and compete against players across the country; this format delivers that.

Operators - remember this: You need to deliver games to the players that we want to play. Online play is a direct cause and effect relationship.

Here is an example: I like Silver Strike. I play many dollars a week on a offline game. I find out that I can win prizes or other goodies by participating in national contests (vendor or company run). The only requirement is that I play on a "online" game.

So I ask my vendor to put the game online. He refuses because he doesn't want to pay for either an update (how much better can they make a bowling game, after, right?), or the monthly fees for the bandwidth ($10, $20? Outrageous!). He also says that "IT is screwing him because there isn't as much money in the cashbox".

And right here is where operators go wrong. They don't look at it from the player's perspective, they only look at it from their own perspective. When I ask them to update the game, or put it online, it's because I want to participate in the national or regional contests. These contests are based on repetition/amount of play. In order for me to win a prize, I have to play many games. The more I play, the more the operator earns.

So when someone says that they don't want to spend $20 a month on bandwidth to put the game online because it "costs too much" or is otherwise a cost that operators think the manufacturer should bear, I am sitting there thinking, "I am playing $3 or $4 a game X games/month, and this guy won't spend $20 a month to connect the game? This guy just doesn't get it". The same feeling applies to operators who won't buy updates to video games because they are too expensive or they don't feel that they will get their money back.

Well, from the player's perspective, if you don't spend the money on the update, you're not giving me what I want. I am not just going to sit there and spend money on last year's version of the game that has become stale and old to me. What that means that I won't spend my money on your game. I walk my money to another vendor who is willing to give me what I want as a player. And then I put all of my money into that vendor's game instead of yours. Then you sit around and wonder why the game doesn't earn as much as it used to for you.

The cashbox thing is hilarious. So a check from IT at the end of the month isn't the same thing as cash-in-hand? How much of that cash are you reporting to the IRS?

Info - I am in my mid-30's. I have been playing video games since 1976. I make good money, and have no problem spending $400 a month on a video game, plus associated drinks and food at a bar. I am the face, for you guys, of what your customer is now and in the future. Your old demographic, the pinballers and the pac-man folks, well, they are just old at this point in time. My generation, and these crazy kids who are even younger, want, demand, AND ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR premium services like SSB Online, GT Live, Megatouch online or whatever it is, etc.

Anonymous said...

"It never ceases to amaze me to walk into a popular, hopping bar only to see noone playing the video games there. But upon closer inspection the answer is always the same:old ,tired equipment. Yawn..." Well Mr Manufacturer....today I did a collection on fairly new , brisk, brilliant, gleaming,energitic countertop video games and the results are as follows: Location A : 2007 Evo Ion :$53.75....2ND 2007 Evo Ion that this location just had to have:$30.00. Location B:2006 Evo Ion $64.00. That comes to a grand total of $147.75 for 3 machines in a 2 week period, BEFORE the 50/50 split!!!!! Assuming they do the same the next 2 weeks , I have a $147.75 collection to apply to a $560.00 payment for these 3 pieces of equipment. Also keep in mind (seriously) these are popular, hopping bars!!! Now i guess your going to tell me i need to update them to 2008 software and put them online.......WITH WHAT????? The only reason i have this equipment is to keep locations happy that do well with online jukes. Too bad the jukes pay for the video games.......

markndeb48 said...

I have an 800 sq foot retail store i would like to convert to an arcade on a 50/50 split with whoever can supply all the machines .There are NO other arcades at all here in Citrus county fl so this would be a goldmine contact me at markndeb48@aol.com