Mar 17

Bandai Namco Pumping VR at Amusement Expo

1 comment

Edited: Mar 17

For anyone hoping that Bandai Namco is going to come "back to the light" on coin-op video, it's not looking like they're going to do so anytime soon. But if VR is your thing, they'll have two games they didn't make at Amusement Expo:

 

https://www.facebook.com/BandaiNamcoAM/posts/1805922252847398

 

Of course, I'm becoming a little jaded on the whole VR push in the business. It's a symptom of the rest of the industry trying to make FECs happy, but I've yet to see any numbers that prove that it's worth it (plus maintenance, plus an attendant, plus insurance, etc.). I get why consultants have thrown everything out the window to push it, since short-sighted investors are throwing stupid amounts of money at a tech that has poor ROI. But the only product that has shown up in the charts as making some money is Virtual Rabbids, and that's a $50k machine.

 

In Namco's case, I've not heard of a single location out there (in the US) that has added their We Play VR thing by AI Solve, but they've been pushing it almost three years now. If they did Mario Kart VR as a cabinet, then I'm sure that would sell a few, but otherwise, I don't see why they keep chasing this thing like they've been.

 

Please Exa, come soon

I've been to multiple chain arcades in the Eastern United States, and the only one that's had any VR was Dave and Buster's. (And their Jurassic Park thing was a store exclusive anyway.) I agree that it's not really catching on.

 

My thing with VR is this: I will only play it if A) it's the price of a normal game and B) it's actually a good game. That self-serve Beat Saber cabinet is actually a really, really good game, but I can't speak for the pricing because I've never seen it in person. Rabbids VR and many others like it are trash "games" at $5.00 a pop.

 

If anyone could make a good game out of VR, it's Namco, but I don't think they're hitting the proverbial nail on its head just yet. I would be over the moon if they announced another real video game.

 

If Twitter is to be believed, they hear the cry for Maximum Tune 6. However, something tells me the $25,000-per-unit price tag didn't do MT5 any favors as far as location reach is concerned. (And it incentivizes turning off free races for first place.)

 

(Japanese devs need to get their costs down somehow. I know there are a ton of hands in the pot, but holy cow it is killing off other spectacular titles.)

 

Either way, I'm sad we've "lost" another major video game manufacturer. I know they haven't actually left our market, but it's not like anybody's gonna buy their VR stuff in the same quantities they bought, say, Mario Kart GP DX.

 

You know why I think VR hasn't taken off yet? Because we live in a different time. If people want VR for their home, they'll buy VR for their home. They buy $1,000 phones every year. They can handle Occulus or HTC Vive. Pay-per-play isn't the same gateway to cool tech that it used to be.

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