In the mid-1980’s, arcade gaming was changed dramatically thanks to a new approach in providing content, the conversion kit. Conversion kits were a mainstay of many arcades throughout the ’80s and ’90s, but fell out of favor with manufacturers as they shifted focus to more expensive (and more profitable) dedicated game cabinets.
The most influential conversion kit in gaming history was the Neo Geo MVS by SNK. This used giant cartridges (a little larger than a VHS tape) to contain the games, allowing operators to swap titles out effortlessly and without spending a lot of money. The system launched in 1990 and was officially supported until 2003.
The current arcade market has been exploding, with new arcades, bar/arcades, FECs and similar locations opening up every month. But new content has been limited to increasingly expensive game cabinets, that blow-up budgets and take up a lot of space. The average cost of a new game is quickly approaching $10,000 as more and more titles launch in Super Deluxe-styles at a cost of $30,000 or higher. This makes it more difficult for smaller venues to provide new and fresh content to appeal to their customers. This doesn’t just affect clients in the United States, but all over the world. Even in Japan, smaller arcades have been suffering as manufacturers force them to “revenue share” all titles, eating into any potential profits that they need to continue operations.
This is where Exa-Arcadia comes in. Developed by long-time arcade guru, operator and collector Eric “ShouTime” Chung, the EXA system is designed to provide modern content to arcades at an affordable price. Whether you are operating in a small rest stop or gas station or a giant cutting edge FEC, the EXA platform is offering a wide variety of premium game content to appeal to a wide client base.
The EXA platform operates off of a specially designed and secure PC platform. Features include:
- Comparable in power to the Playstation 4 Pro or Xbox One X game consoles.
- JAMMA compatible using the JVS I/O standard.
- Compatible with both 16:9 LCD and 4:3 CRT monitors.
- Can hold up to four game cartridges
No internet is required to use the EXA board – once you buy the platform and the game kit, it is yours. There is no need to connect it to the internet to access your game content, nor worry about sharing revenues with a manufacturer or even a distributor like Primetime Amusements.
The hardware and initial line-up of games are scheduled to launch Q2 2019. Stay tuned for more info!
For those that do wish to enjoy the possibilities of an online-connected platform, that is also an option. Each EXA system features integrated streaming with the popular Twitch.tv service, something that many gamers and eSports players use to build a professional gaming presence.
A smartphone app and card system will also be available, allowing for deeper customer interaction and boosted profits to your location. Operators can quickly see what is popular and what isn’t, while building customer loyalty to the location that carries Users who log-in to their app when they begin to play will alert their followers as to what game and which location they are playing at, giving you the operator free advertising!
Speaking of advertising, operators will be able to run ads during the attract mode. Get a local partner or business to advertise to your clients in a non-intrusive way! All this works to increase operator revenues beyond the coin drop or the card swipe.
When the EXA platform launches worldwide in Q2 2019, 10 different titles will be available. Beyond that, over 50 games are in the works by various global partners. These partners include names like G.Revolution, Seibu Kaihatsu, Tanoshimasu, Success, M2, Mages, Locomalito and many more.
While the initial release of 10 titles has a strong focus on scrolling shoot ’em up style games (shmups), titles across various genres are in the works for EXA. This includes 4-player games, classic/retro games, sports games, and much more. Check out this game “sizzle reel” as created by Exa-Arcadia to promote more games as of January 2019:
For titles already announced:
Aka To Blue Type R (Tanoshimasu)
Dimension Drive EX (2AWESOME Studio)
Cosmic Digger 3671 (Mindwave)
Infinos EXA (Picorinne Software)
Nippon Marathon TURBO HYPER RUNNING (Onion Soup Interactive)
Shikhando Death Label by DeerFarm
Strania EX: The Stella Machine (G.Revolution)
Super Hydorah AC (Locaomalito/Abylight)
The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ (Jae Lee)
Valkyrius EXA (Iridescent Games)