Senior Vice President (VP) of Entertainment & Game Strategy at Dave & Buster's, Kevin Bachus, recently participated in a Reddit AMA "Ask Me Anything" and shared a lot of interesting insights with fans.
Mr. Bachus openly addressed fan questions which ranged from asking about what games they might include in future, to maintenance schedules, to aspects of running the business - all of which he answered with surprising honesty.
During this AMA, Mr. Bachus revealed a number of intersting insights, and I've listed my top picks from the thread below, however if you'd like to check it out for yourself, you can read the thread here
The Senior VP revealed he is currently, and will be, working directly with Konami to try and bring new games to the US chain, such as DDR 2015 (which is currently being tested at a Round 1 location), and revealed how other music games perform in store:
"Pump It Up does well but is far from stacking up as one of our most popular games. We will be testing DDR 2015 shortly here in the US and if it does well I would consider adding it alongside PIU. I really want to bring over Dance Dance Evolution but so far have not been successful at that. I've always been a bit baffled as to why games like Project Diva or the Bemani games have never really caught on here in a big way."
"With DDR 2015, aas well as another unannounced test we're running in Southern California in a couple of weeks, I'm working directly witk Konami."
When questioned on fighting games and servicing the fighting game community in stores:
"I want to be open to the fighting game community but they don't make it easy. We're testing Tekken 7 right now at this very moment in San Jose, Dallas and Times Square because I asked NAMCO for the opportunity to check in and see if tastes have changed and the public has an interest in fighting games again (outside of the core). Historically these don't do super well in our stores beyond the initial launch and even NAMCO thinks that's what will happen with Tekken 7. If we were to buy them and roll them out to all our stores (and obviously we'd need more than a few per locations), they'd do well at first. Then the console version comes out. Then the casual players get kind of tired of the game and move on. Then we're holding onto expensive games that no one wants to play apart from a few really dedicated players and it's really hard for us to service small passionate communities. We've only had Tekken 7 for a week but the numbers I'm seeing confuse me. The staff at the three stores are e-mailing me and texting me IN ALL CAPS about how great the games are doing and how everyone loves them and how there are giant lines to play them. Then I look at our data and they're like in the middle of the pack.'
'So I'm trying. I really am. But it's going to take a little more time to see where we are. Maybe Pokken will have broader appeal than Tekken. But unless Mewtwo is playable, who knows?"
On the lack of pinballs in D&B locations:
"Maintenance costs, combined with surprisingly low play. Sure, the newer tables are more reliable. But they still have a LOT of parts that we'd need to inventory, lots of preventative maintenance, lots of potential for damage. And when we've tested them from time to time, they just don't get a lot of play.'
'I think of pinball machines like this industry's version of record stores. Everyone says, "Whatever happened to record stores?" Then you ask when the last time is that they set foot in a record store and the realization begins to dawn. Most people who ask about pinball (and I'm guessing this doesn't apply to you personally) don't actually play the games but they like the idea that they're out there.'
'We offer a lot of options for entertainment in a typical midway. Pinball games need to be able to stand up to some pretty tough competition. Heck, even the vintage games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man get almost no play. Why wouldn't I put something that everyone likes in that space?"
It would be great to see more of this kind of transparency and community engagment from other companies and factories within the indsutry. It allows fans and communities to really learn about why certain things are or aren't available and keep up to date with industry trends, rather than leaving them in the dark to stew on unanswered questions.