Bachir Zeroual, Chief Marketing Officer, Tastemaker’s Arcade1Up

Bachir Zeroual is chief marketing officer for Tastemaker’s Arcade1Up. In this edition of The Friday Five, Bachir shares insights about the ever-changing video game market and his thoughts on the next big trend in arcade-style home gaming.

Congratulations to the team on winning the Best of Gen Con 2021 award for the Infinity Game Table. How does Arcade1Up stay at the forefront of an industry that moves at lightning speed? 

Thank you! Arcade1Up has an experienced leadership team, and passionate product development, licensing, sales and marketing teams. Our relationships with the leading licensors in the industry have allowed us to give our fans the retro arcade titles that they want, such as Terminator, PAC-MAN, X-Men, The Simpsons, Killer Instinct, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).

We listen to what our players tell us! Fans want the experience of going back in time to when they were feeding quarters into arcades machine, and now they can have that experience at home. Staying connected with our players and social community has also helped us stay at the forefront of the industry, as does feedback from people who are simply interested in what we do!

We launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Infinity Game Table, a high-fidelity touchscreen table preloaded with digital versions of family game night essentials like Scrabble, Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, and more, and within 15 minutes it was fully funded with over $1 million and nearly 1,500 backers — many of whom were not Arcade1Up gamers.

The Friday Five

Who is your customer in the home video game market right now?

Our customer base continues to evolve. When Arcade1Up first started, our players were retro gamer aficionados who grew up playing games like PAC-MAN, Mortal Kombat, and Galaga. We continued to expand our reach as we collaborated with brands including the NBA, Supreme, Champion, and The NTWRK. Leading up to COVID, our customer base extended to include men and women who did not just play for sport but for the entertainment and experience aspect.

Within a couple of months of COVID and the “stay at home” mandate, we saw a dramatic increase in demand and sales. Everyone was forced to stay home, and what better thing to do than add a machine to your game room; or, for a new customer, to buy a machine to have in the house for the family to play.

Our new arcade machines are WiFi-enabled so you can play with friends and family. With our new line, the Arcade1Up Jr. arcade machines for kids, we bring the at-home retro gaming experience to a whole new generation. The Infinity Game Table, our first home entertainment product outside of an arcade machine, has broadened our reach to appeal to women and their families.

The Friday Five

How has the market changed since COVID-19 came into our lives? 

Like other industries, gaming has had to adapt to the global shipping crisis. That said, our industry thrived as a result of COVID. During the pandemic, people were confined to their homes, they needed an escape, and gaming provided that. With increased interest in gaming and the need to stay at home, people were willing to invest in home entertainment. We were able to be a part of bringing families together, helping them  play again like they did back in the day.

In addition to launching and selling out of new arcade and pinball machines during COVID, we created our first home-entertainment product outside of an arcade machine, the Infinity Game Table.

The Friday Five

What are some of the considerations when reinterpreting existing franchises — such as Pac-Man — for a new generation of players?

We stay true to the original title, whether it be PAC-MAN, TMNT, or X-MEN. We capture the true essence of why people enjoy retro games: for their nostalgia and the authentic artwork, gameplay, and controls. We have modernized the retro-arcade experience through advanced technology and graphics. Most of our new machines are equipped with WiFi so players can game remotely, which adds a whole new level of functionality and is a modern twist on a retro classic.

Speaking of a new generation of players, we have a holiday release of Arcade1Up Jr. PAC-MAN and PAW Patrol, our newly reimagined versions of arcades for kids. We wanted to give kids the kind of retro arcade experience that their parents grew up playing. Arcade1Up Jr. has multiple levels of challenge that simplify the game experience and make  it accessible to kids of all ages and skill levels. The three-foot  kid-sized arcade cabinets make it easy for kids to take control and learn how to play the games at their own pace, with oversized buttons and an eight-inch monitor. Now, kids can play side-by-side with their parents!

The Friday Five

What do you see as the next big trend in arcade-style home gaming?

Gaming at home really took off during COVID and it has redefined social gatherings — people are discovering the joys of gaming at home with their friends and family. Our fans collect our machines and continually add to their game rooms — they want to play again and relive a retro gaming experience at home. With the gaming experience coming into the home, kids are introduced to the classic arcade games that their parents grew up with. Add to that, there’s esports, VR, AR, and cloud gaming — we have a lot to look forward to.

The Friday Five

 Explore home arcade machines, brand collaborations, and more on the Arcade1Up website.