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First Quarter Sales at Arcade Locations Down Double Digits

I am constantly reading about the arcade and pinball hobby. I came across an interesting article in the May issue of the arcade industry trade publication RePlay Magazine.

The article is by the President of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Pinnacle tracks the arcade game sales figures at locations like bowling alleys, movie theatres and arcade restaurants. According to the 58 locations that the Group tracks, sales at these arcades began to soften during Q4 2023 and fell by 13% to 14% during the first quarter of 2024. I realize that this is a drop in the bucket compared to all of the arcades that are out there in the World, but the data is interesting nonetheless.

This slowing arcade location growth can be seen in the earnings results of the arcade operator Dave & Busters as well. D&B’s Q1 financial results aren’t out yet, but during Q4 2023:

Pro forma combined comparable store sales (including Main Event branded stores) decreased 7.0% compared with the same period in 2022…”

And by all accounts Q1 2024 has been worse than Q4 2023.

So what does this all mean for the industry as a whole and the pinball and arcade hobbies?

First and foremost, it’s more important than ever for people in the hobby to get out there and support their local locations. I have always been a big advocate for location play and I try to promote arcades on my pages whenever possible.

It also likely means leaner times for arcade and pinball manufacturers. We won’t see game MSRP reductions right away. To borrow an adage from The Farmer’s Almanac, prices typically rise like a lion and fall like a lamb. The price increases for games that we saw during COVID and immediately after will likely be very sticky. Before we see MSRPs drop, we will likely see changes behind-the-scenes in terms of rebates, incentives or price reductions at the distributor level. Ultimately, that will be good for the consumer as they begin to trickle down. When or if this begins to happen is anyone’s guess, but I definitely expect it to.

The Times They Are A-Changing

Dave & Buster's Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year End 2023 Financial Results

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