The ability to adapt to changing customer demands has allowed pushers to keep pride of place in the UK FEC market, comments Tom Clarke, managing director, and Sam Coleman, sales and marketing manager, JNC Sales.
Coinslot: Pushers have always been a mainstay of the amusements industry. What has kept pushers relevant and performing year after year?
Tom Clarke: “I think it is twofold. Firstly, pushers are synonymous with the traditional arcade experience, with their nostalgic appeal for adults and ease of use for children helping with mass appeal. Secondly, there has been a real upturn in the quality of design and performance of new pushers that have entered the market in recent years.
“When JNC first distributed ticket-payout pushers such as Clockwork Orange and Jurassic Park, it gave arcades a fresh approach to coin pushers and demonstrated their ability to adapt to customer behaviour. Looking at recent pushers, you only have to look at the playability of products like Space Reels and Butterfly to understand why they still do the job for a lot of operators.”
CS: Does the reliable presence of pushers at venues help with inter-generational engagement, whole family spend etc.
Sam Coleman: “I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some of our best-taking pushers are ones that have been designed to be played by the whole family. Pushers such as Scooby Doo, Justice League and Butterfly really engage with the full demographic spectrum and encourage parents to play the games with their children in a safe and friendly environment.”
CS: How important is the pusher to the arcade model both in terms of income and footfall?
TC: “Many arcades will prioritise their floorspace based on their range of pushers as they still lead the way in terms of income, especially for seaside FECs. For many, an arcade’s offering of pushers can be a reflection of the rest of the site and can be perceived to be one of the main attractions for people to visit an arcade. By having such a wide range of new and used pushers, customers can come to JNC to find a pusher that will align with their budget and spatial requirements.”
CS: How can operators maximise the return from pushers?
SC: “It’s important not only to get the right mix of pushers, but also to ensure the beds are equipped with the right swag to encourage players to engage with the machine for longer. We’re also finding operators being a lot more aware of the footprint of pushers and the return on investment potential that they offer. This is why Space Reels worked for many arcades who had restricted floorspace. In contrast to conventional six and eight player round pushers, Space Reels, with its five beds, gives arcades a chance to optimise revenue from areas that would otherwise not offer much financial output.”
CS: Can a licence make a game?
TC: “I think it depends on the licence! We had great success with licenced pushers such as Jurassic Park and Justice League, but we have also seen pushers such as Snakes and Ladders and Clown Around serve the test of time.”
CS: Where can we look for the next phase of pusher innovation?
SC: “With our own arcades and first-hand customer feedback, we are constantly thinking of how we can bring in new products that offer that something different. We are currently working on a new pusher that we will be releasing later in the year, so watch this space.”