LAI Games recently released the results of their “Player’s Voice Amusement Industry Survey"—a coronavirus-centered look at the game-playing habits of arcade-goers—conducted at the end of June. I’m actually super-duper late to this news, so…yeah, that’s just how my day’s been.
“Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and input to the Player’s Voice Amusement Industry Survey, which was aimed at understanding consumer thoughts before and after COVID-19. The survey collected responses from over 500 consumers (parents and players) around the world during the last week of June 2020,” the report began.
“The information collected and displayed in this report is aimed at assisting amusement industry business owners and operators, to understand and address the concerns of guests. We recommend it is considered together with other valuable information provided by our leading industry associations so locations can reopen safely and successfully when the time is right for them. “
Survey participants were broken into two categories: players (who make their own decisions about what they do for entertainment) and parents/carers (who make entertainment decisions for others). To be totally honest, I didn’t foresee many parents taking the survey, but 18 percent of the participants identified as such. Players themselves made up the vast majority at 82 percent.
I found it interesting that the two most-populous age groups were “41-50” and “16-18”. Without having more information, it’s difficult to determine why the age distribution is how it is, but I can at least say I’m delighted by the number of teenaged gamers who had a say.
Most of the participants hailed from Southeast Asia (Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan) and the United States. I can’t help but wonder if the high response rate from these two regions says anything about the strength of arcade gaming within them—or if it’s purely down to population.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, the respondents in this survey cited the most-visited location types as family entertainment centers and bowling entertainment centers. Just over 100 respondents picked my favorite location type: “Retail/grocery with small selection of games”.
The remaining survey questions were primarily focused on customers’ level of comfort visiting arcades in the wake of a global pandemic. Respondents’ two greatest concerns were “large crowds” and “cleanliness of games”. I can’t say I’m not a little worried about those things, too.
At risk of inserting my own bias, I’m glad to see that 57 percent of respondents believed that locations “should insist on masks and gloves”. I like the idea of everyone doing his or her part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It’s also interesting to note that 71 percent of survey participants plan on bringing their own personal hygiene equipment. As for me, I’m probably going to bring disinfectant wipes with me on my future trips to arcades. Better safe than sorry, am I right?
Respondents’ thoughts on social distancing seemed a bit more mixed, with 40 percent saying, “I’m slightly concerned, but the location should decide how to handle it,” and 43 percent saying, “Take it very seriously, anything necessary to ensure social distancing.”
Since the “Before and after COVID-19 visit length expectations” are a bit “numbers-heavy” for a simple article like this, I’d instead like to zero in on the incentives respondents said would bring them back into arcades in the era of coronavirus. The results are genuinely fascinating.
Of course, the number one incentive was reportedly “new games or attractions”, though “food and beverage deals”, “weekly gameplay deals”, and “player loyalty programs” were similarly alluring. I was a bit bummed to learn that “arcade tournaments” and “special events (celebrity meet ‘n’ greets, etc.)” didn’t draw the same numbers.
All in all, I have to give LAI huge props for rolling out this player survey. I found it really refreshing to finally to have statistics of some sort on our side as the arcade industry grapples with how to proceed during this financially tumultuous time. Plus, keeping a pulse on the player community is always a good thing.