The Arcade Purchasing Guide

Make smart decisions when purchasing equipment for your Arcade. Learn about the equipment you will need, typical costs, and where are the best places to buy it.

Required Equipment and Materials

Most arcade owners will need the following equipment and materials to get started:


  • Arcade games ($20,000 - $100,000)
  • POS System ($300 - $2000)
  • Arcade tickets in bulk ($30 - $64)
  • Arcade tokens ($500 - $2000)
  • Various prizes for tickets ($500 - $1000)
  • Ticket count machine ($50 - $100)

You should plan to budget around $50,000 to $100,000 for initial purchasing costs, depending on the size of your arcade. Acquiring different arcade games will constitute the majority of your expenses. If you want to add an additional theme to your arcade, such as a barcade concept, you will need to budget for alcohol costs as well as the licensing fees for selling alcohol.

Sample List of Purchases


A typical person looking to purchase equipment for a arcade might make the following purchases:

  Grand Total Estimate: ~$87,559.00 

Key Decisions

Picking the right game machines is arguably the most important buying decision you’ll make when starting an arcade. We outline the key considerations you will need to keep in mind when making this purchase and provide some popular options.

Considerations When Purchasing Arcade Games

Develop a Theme That Fits Your Target Market

When thinking about the kinds of games you want to purchase for your arcade, it is important to think about your ideal customer. Are you trying to attract older audiences who like the nostalgia of playing classic arcade games? Are you trying to attract families who may like more multi-player, family-friendly games? Or perhaps you are trying to attract youngsters who just want to have a hip spot to hang out.

Regardless of who you want to attract to your arcade, keep a theme in mind so you can focus your purchases and make the most of your startup budget.

New or Pre-Owned Games

Many used arcade games exist on the market. These can not only save you money, but also add a vintage feel to your arcade, if that is the atmosphere you aim to create.

Newer game machines can be more costly, but are sometimes more cost-effective in terms of maintenance fees. Both options have a wide range of variety as well.  

Plan Your Space Wisely

You must keep your space limitations in mind when purchasing arcade game machines. There are a wide range of monitor sizes available, and when setting up the floor plan of your arcade games, keep in mind how your monitors will look and what the centerpiece of your arcade will be.  

There are many types of game machine sizes, such as standup, upright machine or larger, sit-down type, or even a cocktail table type. Plan to have around 50 sq. ft. per game, and leave at least 2 feet of space in front of each machine so that each player can have ample space.

Types of Video Games

Video Arcade Machines

These machines are the staples to any type of arcade business; the traditional video arcade experience include a range of classics. Examples include popular games such as Street Fighter and Pac-Man.

Pinball Machines

Another iconic staple of arcade gaming, pinball machines are still a customer favorite, even when more technologically advanced games are around.  You can get pinball machines that function mechanically, digitally or by some combination of the two.  

Redemption Games

Redemption games give customers incentives to keep winning tickets in order to exchange them for a reward. A popular example of this type of game is Whac-A-Mole. This is a great component of arcade games and pushes customers to keep playing to win enough tickets for the prizes they want.

Interactive Games

One of the most popular interactive game is Dance Dance Revolution; this gets customers to play games that involve other body parts than their hands, and is a great option for more family friendly arcades. Other popular examples include Billiards and Air Hockey.

Merchandise Games

Merchandise games give immediate gratification for players upon completion. This includes the familiar crane and claw machine to obtain various plushies. These games are another great arcade option for family audiences or young couples.

Best Places to Buy

Most arcade game owners will have to go make their purchases through a middleman distributor. Given the size of most arcade games, if there are no physical store in your area, then online distributors may be the way to go. Another option is to look up different arcade game brands and investigate their distributors nationwide. It is always helpful to be able to see machines in person first to ensure quality before making a purchase.  

Primetime Amusements

This website offers comprehensive options for arcade games, from redemption games to classic video arcade games, and also has great resources for arcade owners. They offer mostly new games, and include a 90-day warranty with a no-return policy. The company also offers great shipping service options, as well as consultation. For new business owners, this may be a great option to start planning for your arcade.

Monkey Arcades

One of the biggest sources for used arcade games, Monkey Arcades offers a wide range of games at lower, more affordable prices.  Monkey Arcades’ selection also allows owners to find discontinued classics, or create a more vintage feel to their arcade environment. However, as with all used items, machine quality can be questionable. Be sure to see photos of machines and verify functionality before making a purchase.

BMI Gaming

Hailed as the world’s largest gaming superstore, BMI gaming offers an incredible selection of gaming options.  It sells some of the newest game machines on the market, and is a great option for owners who want to keep up with current trends.