The Decline Of Arcades

Brian Crecente writes here that video arcades aren’t just dead, they’re never coming back. True or not, I think he’s wrong about the cause of their purported demise, and there may be implications for the film and music industries, as well.

One of the commentators below the article claims that his parents would drop him off at the arcade with $40 for a single day of gaming, presumably four to six hours worth, possibly also including snacks and drinks, this in the days of oversized CRTs and standup booth games costing a quarter or two. Now, consider the modern gamer paradigm of enormous LCD or plasma screens, HD graphics, surround sound, subwoofers, comfortable, seated position, snacks and drinks limited only by the size of one’s fridge and/or wallet, massively multiplayer online gaming and once a month pricing that feels like free, without spending a dime on transportation.

Despite the substantial initial investment involved, the richer experience and lower perceived cost (the gear itself can be amortized somewhat by using it for television, movies or computing, as well as games) leads me to believe that coinage has little or nothing to do with the matter, and that’s before factoring in the real estate expenses formerly borne by arcade operators.

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One thought on “The Decline Of Arcades

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