I was surprised to learn that Xbox co-creator Kevin Bachus took a job with Dave & Buster’s as the company’s senior vice president of entertainment and game strategy. The possibilities are intriguing. Bachus is a sharp man, but he’s had a rough go of it since leaving Microsoft (see Infinium Labs/Phantom Entertainment). Although home consoles have greatly diminished the popularity of arcades, I believe people are still interested in them as a social destination based around gaming (the food and booze help too). I’m anxious to see what changes Bachus will make to the Dave & Buster’s formula. Here’s a quote from “Dancing” Dean Takahashi’s article:
Video game enthusiasts are always looking for the next big thing, and I believe Dave & Buster’s is uniquely positioned to deliver it to them. As a long-time fan of Dave & Buster’s, I am excited to have the opportunity to help shape the next phase of interactive entertainment outside of the home.
On a purely personal level, there are two things I hope this hiring results in. I hope that Bachus is successful in his new role and takes Dave & Buster’s to new heights. He was always nice to me and I’d like to see him to well. As a gamer and a consumer (of beer, spirits, and sliders), I’d love to see a fresh gaming experience at Dave & Buster’s. In my head, I see a cool form of gaming that can be enjoyed at home, but is enhanced when played at a physical location. Yes, that’s a really vague description, but I think there are some fascinating possibilities there. Imagine a social game that can play on your PC, phone, or tablet and also play — with more features and live social contact — at an arcade . That would be sweet.
Then again, I don’t know how appealing that idea would be to the valuable 18-34 demographic. I grew up with arcades and miss location-based gaming. Younger gamers that grew up with home consoles might not see the appeal…or they could see something completely novel. I’m not smart enough to intuit something like that.
That’s where you come in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on gaming at physical locations. Is that something you like to do every now and then? Or are you completely satisfied with the home-console experience?