From discussions with both exhibitors and visitors, the show seemed busier this year (or maybe renewed confidence in the industry) and whilst official news from the show organizers explained that visitor rates increased 1.2% from last year, there was a number of buyers present looking for good equipment.
As with all shows, you need to look for the diamonds in the field, and for operators, we thought that there were a couple of games which need mentioning. From Sega, the Rambo DX
machines have moved down to a more reasonable price and income from operators is said to be earning steadily. Hummer
is suitable for large locations, whilst Harley Davidson
we believe can do good business in arcade centres (both scheduled for release in March). Interestingly, no Initial D5 on display, Sega opting to show R-Tuned
(available as dedicated or upgrade kit to convert Race TV).
On the Namco booth, Razin Storm
is going to be the shooting game of this year, however pricing will be an issue, especially with the strong Japanese Yen. There is a real strong feeling that this game is going to keep earning, and only available as DX model. Namco's other strong title is Nirin
, a road racing motorbike game which offers high speed racing. Both titles are to be released next month into the market. Sadly, no show of Tekken 6 Bloodline Rebellion
which is on top of income reports in Japan.
Konami had a mix of Western and Japanese flavoured games, and after their recent announcement that Electrocoin will take over distribution of Konami products in Europe, their focus is on strong sales of DDR X
and Guitar Hero Arcade
this year. DDR X
is being released in Japan this month, and scheduled for English market release in a few months time. GTI Club "Supermini Festa!"
was definitely the best presented product at the show, a beautiful 4 player car driving game which is only suitable for large venues.
A few other games which we thought are either "sleepers" or "diamonds in the field", included;
from Gaelco: this machine has now been available for a few years and each year is refined further. Their technology allows dart players to play either in one location, or in real time, play against people in other countries. With over 3000 machines now in the market, something operators should look closely at.
Pokerkard from Nova: there were a few texas hold'em poker machines at the combined gaming/arcade show, but one which looks very good was Nova's product. This machine is a 4 player table with touch panel allowing players to play against each other for points (or money if you purchase the gaming model), with the table taking a % each play. Players use a data card which saves their points for returned visits. Currently on test in different countries, initial incomes are very good.
DJ MAX Technika from Penavision: very well presented machine with excellent sound system, players use a touch screen to tap on notes which go across a screen with full motion video and urban/disco/popular music - player cards also available on this machine. Pricing will be the key to whether this machine can be successful against DDR X and Guitar Hero Arcade, as game centre operators will need to choose carefully with their limited funds.
This year we decided to put our sales hat on, and bring both Tekken 6
and Street Fighter 4
to ATEI, mainly to show that fighting/video games are not dead and that operators need to take some initiative if factories are not going to distribute the product. I know a lot has been written in other print media, but if you are a game centre operator and not operating these games, it's hard to understand why you are passing on these products. From all our customers and trading partners, income on these machines has been $50-200usd per day.
Lastly, there is real movement in the blending of consumer games into the coinop industry. Whether you like to see it or not, there has been a lost generation of game players who have never stepped into an arcade centre. Soon this is going to change.
Software providers are busily aligning themselves with hardware/media providers which will see a wide range of titles entering into coinop. Initially we believe they will be exact consumer products in a coinop environment, however in the future, we expect to see game play uniquely different for coinop games which cross over into consumer products at a later stage.
Sega UK has grasp this concept with 2 hands agreeing to be the distributor in Europe for Game Gate VU
, a machine which is licensed to play hundreds of console video games in a public environment. The product is most suitable for street locations such as bowling alley, skate facility, airports and waiting rooms. Extremely good sales were generated at the ATEI Show proving operators are interested in this new revenue stream. Samples have started to ship, with main production to start next month.
With products such as Game Gate VU
, E-Spot and inhouse testing of coin operated models of Wii (and others) from the manufacturers themselves, this coinop industry is going to change significantly over the next few years.
Thank you to all our friends who visited and helped us during our visit to UK.