Investing in Retro Arcades: 10 Profitable Picks to Consider

Investing in Retro Arcades: 10 Profitable Picks to Consider

Since their arrival in the 1970s, arcade games and pinball machines have always had a unique draw for people. Retro arcades presented a new form of entertainment that challenged people to test their skills and compete against their friends. Although they have lost some appeal with the release of home gaming consoles and virtual reality, they still have a very dedicated fanbase.

If you are a gaming enthusiast or looking to diversify with assets outside the stock market, retro arcades could be the perfect alternative investment for you.

Why Do People Invest in Retro Arcades?

Although it may seem an unusual choice, arcade machines offer many advantages as investments.

First off, people love retro arcades. Like me, many adults spent a lot of time playing them in their younger days. Savvy investors are capitalizing on the nostalgia of these games to make a lot of money.

Additionally, it allows current collectors to share their passion with an entirely new generation while also generating income from it.

But most importantly, there are significant financial benefits. Not only do they have high-profit potential and provide a steady stream of income, but there are even more opportunities with the emergence of adult arcades and arcade bars.

What Are the Profit Margins?

For investors, this is the most important question. However, profit margins vary greatly depending on several factors such as location, foot traffic, maintenance and repair costs, marketing strategies, and the popularity of the game.

But if you are serious about investing in retro arcades, don’t let this deter you. With a solid business plan, efficient management, and innovation to create the best gaming experience possible, they can be very lucrative.

On average, arcades report that each machine generates about $300 of revenue per week. The most successful owners can earn anywhere from $1,100 -$2,000 per week. After doing the math to account for rent, labor, and other expenses, current investors report an average profit margin of around 30%. When you compare this to other types of investments, retro arcades offer a much higher ROI.

Top 10 Revenue-Earning Retro Arcade Games

If retro arcades seem like the right investment for you. The next step is to choose the right game. Based on market research, these 10 games have earned the most revenue since their release.

1. Pac-Man

  • Namco – 1980
  • sold 700,000 units
  • total revenue of $10M ($21.8M when adjusted for modern inflation rates)

2. Space Invaders

  • Taito – 1978
  • sold 750,000 units
  • total revenue of $7.6M ($21.5M with inflation)

3. Street Fighter II

  • Capcom – 1991
  • sold 320,000 units
  • total revenue of $8.5M ($16.9M with inflation)

4. Donkey Kong

  • Nintendo – 1981
  • sold 152,000 units
  • total revenue of $4.4M ($6.9M with inflation)

5. NBA Jam

  • Midway – 1993
  • sold 20,000 units
  • total revenue of $2M ($3M with inflation)

6. Defender

  • Williams – 1981
  • sold 60,000 units
  • total revenue of $1M ($2.7M with inflation)

7. Asteroids

  • Atari – 1979
  • sold 100,000 units
  • total revenue of $115K ($2.6M with inflation)

8. Centipede

  • Atari – 1980
  • sold 55,988 units
  • total revenue of $80K ($2.3M with inflation)

9. Mortal Combat II

  • Midway – 1993
  • sold 27,000 units
  • total revenue of $10K ($1.8M with inflation)

10. Tempest

  • Atari – 1981
  • sold 29,000 units
  • total revenue of $62K ($1.2M with inflation)

Like any alternative investment, you need to do your research to choose the right machine and understand your local competition. However, investing in retro arcades may prove to be a fun and successful way to make money doing what you love.

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