Expect more barcades from frustrated game enthusiasts, says LVA’s Nanakhorn

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FECs leaving video-game enthusiast out in the cold has led to the recent upsurge in gaming-focused arcades, says management at one of London’s most popular gaming destinations Las Vegas Arcade.


Industry observers are to continue to see an increasing number of video-game focused arcades pop up around the country, that’s according to Las Vegas Arcade social media manager Toby Nanakhorn.

Whilst FECs have taken a pronounced turn towards kids rides and redemption games in recent decades, Nanakhorn points to operations like Las Vegas – which caters primarily to competitive gamers – being launched with ever increasing frequency around the country: a trend he attributes to gaming business-owners identifying teenagers and younger adults being largely abandoned by traditional FECs.

“Many new barcades are opening with retro games and arcade cabinets at the moment – in Central Manchester, Warrington, Barnsley, the Barrio chain, Kongs in Bristol and of course Arcade Club opening another location in Leeds,” he told Coinslot. “I think what we’re seeing are ex-gamers who are now grown up and opening their own places to combat all the ticket and redemption chains that seem to only focus on families and very young children, ignoring GenXers, millennials, and older GenZ kids.”

Meanwhile, whilst VR is often touted as the next-big thing in destination entertainment for these very same demographics, within an arcade-setting Nanakhorn is skeptical as to its longevity.

“VR is a bit of a novelty you do once or twice but it’s not a repeat activity,” he said. “It’s more of a thing for office and party events.”

Indeed, in Nanakhorn’s experience, operators should look to two other (markedly cheaper) technologies in order to cement return visits from serious gamers.

“For our customers, memory cards to save progress and being able to compete with other players online is very important,” he remarked.

By way of example, he points to Andamiro’s Pump It Up dance-pad music video game, the connectivity of which has proved so successful at Las Vegas that the arcade now operates three of the machines side-by-side.

“Although Konami did release Dance Dance Revolution here, the machines are offline so Pump It Up has been far more popular for us,” he told us. “I heard Pump isn’t doing as well across the country but I suspect most of those arcades owners didn’t promote it and most importantly, they haven’t connected it online.”



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