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Owners mum over video earnings
By BOB KIMPLETON
Video games are a way of life in
With four video arcades on Franklin
Street, not to mention games in bars,
restaurants and even supermarkets, al
most everyone knows PacMan Donkey
Kong or Defender.
But the business end of the video
craze is less visible. Who owns the
$3,000 machines, who gets the money
from this billion dollar industry, and
how much do the machines make?
One reason that little is known about
the video business is that some people
in the business don't want anyone to
Chris Maroldy, manager of Noel's Sub
Machine, wouldn't say where the
machines in his arcade come from or
how much they make. "That informa
tion is classified," he said.
He did say that there are several ar
rangements used to place games in es
tablishments. Machines can be, bought
outright from a distributor, leased from
an operator, or leased with an option to
buy. Also, some machines are leased on
a percentage basis, where the operator
and property owner each take a cut of
In a high-volume situation, where
machines are expected to pay for them
selves, ownership is often the preferred
route. Soaps manager Carey McCloskey
said all the video games in the bar-laundromat
were bought from a distributor
in Philadelphia. She said that on a good
night one of her better machines (like
Ms. Pac Man) might be good for 100-1 50
Bars use video games as both a draw
and a source of revenue. "Ifs a means
of recreation," Tim Kirkpatrick, owner
of The Henderson Street Bar, said. "It
also adds income to my business." Kirk
patrick leases his games from Dos sett
Music in Durham on a percentage basis.
Dossett Music empties the machines,
counts the money and splits it 50-50
with the bar.
Barry Huff, owner of The Upper Deck
bar, said he prefers leasing his eight
video machines to buying. "Video
games are rather faddish," said Huff,
who also leases from Dossett Music. "A
lot of the machines come and go. .
there's a lot of speculation in it"
While some machines may fade from
popularity. Huff said the video games
will be here "till something comes along
and replaces them."
1 i ' r 1
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Thursday, June 17, 1982 The Tar Heel 7