Thanks for the great feedback. I was a little worried people here would think I was trolling.
First off, the reason for me wanting to do a fighting game focus business is simple. I have a passion for competitive fighting games. I want to see this scene grow. I want to mature the community in Maryland so our local players get the notoriety and attention that Cali, Texas, and NYC.
I guess first I should clarify what this business idea is. I want to create the new Gametime Arcade for 2010.
I want to create a Japanese style arcade for the Baltimore / DC area. However as everyone knows, arcades aren?t really feasible anymore. The start up costs are tremendous, the games selection is limited, and getting them to Maryland is expensive.
So I looked into the idea of doing a gaming caf. While the business plan for such a venture is well known, there seems to be a little issue when it comes to fighting games. People rent stations by the hour, this actually prevents camaraderie as people get into the messy affair of who pays for what.
In the classic sense, arcades work that there is a fighting game, you put your quarter up and play when it?s your turn. No one owns a station for an hour or so, and competition is naturally promoted in this way. I want to recreate this atmosphere as much as possible, thus the reason for the pay at the door idea. You get inside, put up your penny or card at the machine you want to play and go for it. No politics.
I also want to have lots of stations as there would be lots of tournaments, and the last thing I want to happen is to have large successful tournaments with 100 people standing around doing nothing but waiting. I want people to play others, not feel limited in anyway who you play and have a great time. I witnessed at a failed business in Towson called VGA when they had Soul Calibur 2 tournaments, they would hold the tournaments, and you would spend a lot of time watching and very little time playing, particularly if your bad at the games and can?t get anywhere on the brackets. You paying $10 to play 2 games and stand around for hours sucks.
If I can get the stations to be in Japanese style versus cabinets (with the proper USB, extension mods needed to let people use their own sticks and pads) then the feel of the experience will be enhanced that much more.
And even though this idea is mostly for fighting gaming, I won?t ignore other games from other genres. Madden, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Modern Warfare, Halo?It?s all good. But my idea is really to help the fighting game community first and foremost.
Anyway, to let everyone know, this thread is helping me do a feasibility study on whether this idea can fly. You guys have brought up a lot of really good points.
I am considering having the cabinets custom built within my family. I have relatives who are quite good at woodworking. HD cabinets really isn?t as much an issue as getting the proper HD monitor to maximize the experience.
Staying super current shouldn?t be difficult since I am using consoles. At the moment all the buzz is around SF4 and T6, but other titles would naturally be available.
Oh and tournaments, and other events are part of the business plan. Just need to look into those pesky Maryland gambling laws.
Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have a very healthy fighting game community. Delaware has plenty of players as well. But figuring out the cash flow of the business in question is part why I am doing a feasibility study.
You are right on how sad the arcade scene in Maryland is. I know for a fact there is a large contingence of players looking for some local way to bone up skills and meet new people without going online and playing their close friends all the time.
How often does X30 do the $5 all day deal, and on what days?
Promotions for this business is easy in the internet age. Tournaments are the primary vehicle for getting attention. Fortunately, thanks to sites like this one, twitter, you tube, and streaming sites like Justin.TV I would have plenty of opportunity to promote this business. I certainly won?t make the mistake of having the wrong games and not listening to the community.
Thanks again for all the feedback.