exA-Arcadia – The New Arcade Kit System

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Eric Chung, President and CEO of exA-Arcadia (EXA) has declared in his recent interview with Shmup’Em-All that their new arcade conversion kit system, exA-Arcadia, will be this generations’ NEOGEO. With a pedigree of SNK’s NEOGEO MVS arcade system, exA-Arcadia has some big shoes to fill. Eric’s statement does indeed seem bold, but he is confident that their innovative kit system will revolutionise and revitalise arcade gaming for developers and operators alike, giving them an easy to use system (to develop games) at a cost effective price point.

The exA-Arcadia System with four game cartridges as shown at JAEPO 2019
source: eXa-Arcadia via Twitter

So what does exA-Arcadia bring to the table for the operator? As already stated, this is an arcade conversion kit system, just like the NEOGEO MVS was back in the 90s, so its main aim for operators is to provide modern arcade content at a budget friendly price. This is all achieved by its clever hardware design, based on a secure Windows PC platform, which is more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles, which can hold up to four games (delivered in cartridge format about the size of the old CPS3 cartridges). The best part is that exA-Arcadia is JAMMA and JVS (JAMMA Video Standard) compatible, allowing it to be used inside almost any existing operable arcade cabinets. It is also compatible with both 16:9 LCD and traditional 4:3 CRT monitors. exA-Arcadia claims that their vertically oriented games can be played in horizontal mode, so operators don’t need more vertically oriented monitors in all of their cabinets to play EXA format games.

exA-Arcadia stand with sample games at JAEPO 2019
source: exA-Arcadia via Twitter

The attraction of exA-Arcadia is realised even further (for operators), as once the system is purchased, it is fully owned by the operator, meaning that there is no requirement for internet connectivity to access gaming content, nor is there a need to share revenue with the manufacturer or distributor – more money left in the pocket of the operator. For operators that want to offer their customers an online experience, exA-Arcadia has a feature that integrates with streaming services like Twitch. Together with a smartphone app and card system, the exA-Arcadia’s feature set can provide operators a deeper insight into their customer interactions, which helps in building loyalty and decision making on what is popular, ensuring that customers keep coming back.

With its Windows PC based architecture, the EXA system is open to both traditional (big name) developers as well as the smaller independent ones. The initial release of ten games that were showcased at California Extreme (CAX) and Stunfest in late 2018, clearly shows that the current focus is on shoot’em up (shmups) games, however there are currently fifty games in the development pipeline that represent a variety of gaming genres, like fighting, sports, classic retro style platformers and four player games to balance out the EXA line-up.

Visitors enjoying the exA-Arcadia offerings at CAX 2018

exA-Arcadia presence at California Extreme (CAX 2018)
source: Tanoshimasu via Twitter

Eric Chung is confident that their exA-Arcadia platform can overcome stiff competition from systems provided by the giants in the industry, namely Sega’s ALL.NET and Taito’s NESiCAxLive. Eric claims that exA-Arcadia’s attraction is its lower entry cost (prices have yet to be confirmed as at writing of this article) and the fact that they will not force revenue sharing on coin drops. The overall cost will most likely be even lower than the others (Sega and Taito) as there is no equipment required, like network routers and servers, and no monthly fee to access the manufacturer’s network.

There is no doubt that exA-Arcadia has captured the attention of the amusement industry and developers alike. We will definitely be keeping a close eye on developments, as the potential of what it promises will surely result in shaking things up in the industry.

Aka To Blue Type-R at Stunfest
source: Shmup’Em-All via Twitter

*This feature first appeared in the February 2019 issue of the NAMOA ‘The Collector’ trade magazine.