I've been going to arcades since the early 70's when I was a kid and have seen the ups and downs of the industry. But what sucks now is that the new arcades I go to are nothing more than kid casinos. Some of them even have faux slot machines that payout in tickets!
What I'm curious about is how do operators that run actual pinball and video game arcades sans redemption games, make money anymore? With pins costing upwards $10 grand, and some of the cockpit-style games costing much more, how in the hell do arcade operators make any profit?
Yeah, I know the real money is made selling food/drink, but looking at some of these machines and I scratch my head how they're supposed to ever make back their original cost, let alone make a profit. Sure, with pins, operators can (I assume) run a machine for years, and then sell it on the collectors market and make some money, but that's not enough to pay rent and the light bill.
I help run small local movie theater and our brand new projector and sound system cost us only $30k. That Star Wars Pod game costs $30k. How in the heck can it ever make it's money back one person at a time, even charging five bucks a person?
Lastly, I think arcade games can indeed make a comeback. But in order to do that they will have to start making games that exceed what people can generally get at home with their X-boxes and PS4s. I sit down in some of these brand new racing games and I have to ask myself "did I just time travel to 1998?" Graphics for most arcade games today are just "Meh," IMHO.
But, in the end, I'm still amazed, and happy that pinball has persisted. Mainly because it is one of the few real things left in this virtual world of ours. Plus, the ball is wild.