Monday, September 10, 2007

Gaming Industry Exhibition

Evening traffic on Fuhsing N. Rd. in Taipei.

On Friday morning I took the wife and kids over to the gaming industry exhibition at the Taipei World Trade Center, Building 2.

In Taiwan, this industry, building off synergies from Taiwan's electronics and machinery industries, makes everything from those coin pusher machines seen in night markets, to complex electronic Baccarat machines with robot dealers. Many of the machines more familiar from night markets, such as crane machines, do not generate high revenues, while demand is stagnant. Hence, many makers are seeking to upgrade into electronic gambling machines and gaming machines. Other firms have sought R&D partnerships with foreign makers and with local academic institutions.

A robot dealer.

According to the industry's magazine, there are 4,228 legally registered arcades in Taiwan. The legal framework is by far the biggest issue faced by arcade managers. By administrative district, Tainan county leads with over 700 arcades and climbing. In Tainan city, by contrast, the city will not re-issue permits for arcades when they expire, meaning that the number of arcades is on the decline. Similarly, Pingtung is rewriting its regulations and at the moment, applications for new arcades are being suspended. Taipei City has only 11 legal arcades -- the price of land being so great that no one can make money, even though the city is still accepting applications. In all jurisdictions legal arcades are frequently sites of illegal gambling, meaning that they are often shut down in crackdowns.

Kiddie rides.

My son tests his manhood.

Testing a dancing machine.

This machine randomly tosses balls in the air.

Electronic gambling machines.

My son in the tank simulator.

The fortune telling machine. My fortune is here -- they have the usual quality control problems with the English. *sigh*

No booth babes at this show. Just some pretty salesgirls.

The kids enjoyed themselves, and the industry itself is a good example of how small Taiwan firms have leveraged their skills and connections to move into new markets -- most of these firms have less than 15 years experience in the industry, and none is very big. Amusement is big business, fiercely competitive, and highly R&D intensive; nearly every firm emphasized its commitment to new product R&D.


MJ Klein said...

Michael, did you happen to see any of those karaoke machines?

Jessica Shankar said...

Do you indulge in photography professionally? Or is that a really good camera?

Michael Turton said...

Jessica, it is a really, really good camera, the Canon Powershot S5 IS.

Michael, no karaoke in sight. Might be considered different industry.


Anonymous said...

The exhibition looks like fun! If only I was coordinated enough to play games like DDR.