Dave & Buster’s recently increased the price on its dance games across all stores, according to a Reddit post in the r/DaveAndBusters subreddit.
In a move that has garnered mixed player reception, the price for both Dance Dance Revolution and Pump It Up went up from approximately 6 chips per credit to approximately 9 chips per credit.
Some players took no issue with the increase in price, believing that the price of cabinets, online connectivity, and maintenance more than justified the change.
“I can’t be the only person that has zero issue with this,” said user MewtwoStruckBack. “A game of DDR lasts 2x if not 3x as long as a game on any other non-redemption game. Even something with lengthy setup time like a Mario Kart race still only lasts about 4 minutes. DDR...swipe card, scan and enter PIN for e-Amusement Pass, pick a song, play it, second song but you wait out the timer to catch your breath, drink water...same for 3rd song and if using the amusement pass, an Extra Stage. That’s easily 10 minutes.
“Plus DDR has higher maintenance cost than your average game, and with that factored in...if that’s what it takes to justify D&B buying and keeping the cabs perfect, then bring it on,” the user concluded.
But other players were disappointed by the move, despite potential justifications.
“I 100% understand D&B is a business and they need to make money. They just put in ~30 new DDR cabs in their stores, and in some of the older locations are now having to wire in internet to get the cabs connected online. That all costs money, and they need to pay for that,” said user EvilDave219. “I also understand dance games make up a smaller percentage of their overall amusement revenue, which also makes up a smaller percentage of their total revenue. Totally get that.
“However, a 32% price increase overnight seems short-sighted by D&B, especially in their larger markets that also have Round1 locations as competition,” the user continued. “Previously, one of the main draws of D&B over Round1 if you played DDR or Pump was that you could play games cheaper there than you could at Round 1 via the $20 for $20 coupons and half price Wednesdays. Without the discounts, D&B and R1 were about the same pricewise ($1.10 per game if you bought $100 at a time). The coupons push D&B down to $.68 per game, and $.34 on Wednesdays, which is obviously HUGE value.”
All in all, most players agreed that, while the price hike wasn’t ideal, there were real reasons for this choice.
“I swing both ways on this. For the player that actually stays for long periods of time and sinks a lot of cash into these machines, it does hurt a bit. It hurts the new players when they don’t want to pay as much either and/or waste a credit after one round,” said user s1ntsnpr.
“On the other side, I see the maintenance costs and what not as a factor. But D&B also has to do the maintenance and not just leave the machine broken or half working. And yes that does happen,” the user added.
User KooKooMagoo — purportedly part of Dave & Buster’s corporate — said that steps will be taken to ensure a quality user experience in light of the price increase.
"Ok, so here’s the deal. The price went up. It is what it is,” the user said. “I will make sure stage break is off, we will internally discuss double premium, and all the games should be online soon. It’s not going to be perfect overnight. We are working on it.”
Dave & Buster’s did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
My personal take is this: Arcade game price increases are never fun. And as someone who only gets to play at Dave & Buster’s once or twice a year, I won’t like spending more for the same game time.
However, if Dave & Buster’s is set on charging more per dance game, I strongly advise them to make it worth it. These machines must be of superb quality.
As with anything, communication is key. So far, Dave & Buster’s has been lacking in this department.
What are your thoughts on the recent dance game price climb? Is it necessary to maintain a certain level of play quality? Or is it a move driven by nothing more than the pursuit of profit? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter.