Paolo Sidoli, principal of SB Machines, weighs in on the enduring popularity of kiddie rides, and how a concentration on technological advancements continues to make them a must-have.
Kiddie rides have been an everpresent of the British leisure industry for generations, offering steady cashbox returns and continual customer engagement. However, in recent times a focus on branding, technological advancements, and a surge of consumer interest has seen these rides rise to a place of prominence in amusements locations the country over.
Drawing on considerable experience in the industry, Sidoli commented that a recent reappraisal of the sector by operators has been a great boost for the market.
“They have invested a considerable amount of their budgets by improving their ride offerings. In addition, the UK has one of the most developed and sophisticated coin op ride markets in Europe. With such a varied array of product in the field, we see market optimism increasing in the future,” he said.
This rise in investment can be attributed in part to a focus on unit advancements, improving ride offerings to match the wants of a demographic that is becoming ever more accustomed to top-end technology.
Regarding this, Sidoli said: “Video screens on the rides and increased interactivity on the rides and new lighting technology via LEDS are transforming the visual characteristics of the ride thus enhancing player appeal.”
However, he noted that whilst such progress keeps kiddie rides technologically relevant, there will always be an enduring appeal to the installations, cementing them as must-haves in arcades and FECs.
“The target market will always remain or be replaced. Kiddie rides are no longer seen as the poorer relatives of redemption/ video games because they perform just as well and even better. Finally, children’s rides fall outside the scope of the Gambling Act, so as they are functioning correctly, are CE certified, have a good provenance and ADIPS tested, they can be placed anywhere.”
Whilst it is new equipment that Sidoli believes is partly invigorating the market, and in turn providing the best cashbox return, SB Machines can also facilitate operators looking for cost-effective options.
“We can help them and advise in this matter. With our considerable experience in this environment we can offer them a wide array of quality used equipment at a price that is agreeable to the customer.”
The range, and quality of ride in the market at present is as strong as it has ever been. An enduring popularity coupled with constant innovation means the sector straddles the classic and contemporary like few others, and is something that looks set to continue, finished Sidoli.
“A kiddie ride is just as popular now as it was 30 or 40 years ago. A child just loves to go on a piece of moving machinery and press a couple of buttons and pull on some levers or handles.”