My library has a set of annual reports for various companies. Only public companies had to file a 10k with the SEC and most coin-op companies were private. Allied Leisure/Centuri was one of the few that did. Others include Bally/Midway, Warner Communications (parent of Atari), Williams, Xcor (parent of Williams before it spun off), Seeburg (parent of Williams before Xcor), Gulf + Western (parent owner of Sega), Columbia Pictures (parent of Gottlieb), AES Technology (parent of Game Plan), Micropin (owner of Elcon), Merit, Game-A-Tron, Ramtek (though only after they stopped making video games), and Status.
Release Dates/Production Numbers
The most interesting thing I found was some info on release dates and sales for various games. I'm sure this isn't nearly as interesting to everyone else, but I find it fascinating and am always on the lookout for production numbers. They don't have actual production numbers but there's enough info for a rough ballpark estimate.
Let's start with 1982:
Here are some more precise numbers
Note thatAllied was selling games (to distribuors) for about $1700 each on average.
Finally, we have this:
Unfortunately, they don't tell us what game goes with what letter, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out. Are they listed in the same order they are in the paragraph above?
Luckily, they give the release date and I have plenty of info on release dates.
We know from the first document above that game D was The Pit.
Release dates are a bit hard to come by. There is a document floating around the web with Atari release dates but that is an exception. I have a lot of souces I use for release dates, but here I'm going to use 4: MAME, the September 1984 DRA price guide, the Play Meter "catalog" issue (PM), and the RePlay catalog issue" (R)
The DRA price guide was a price guide to used games sold to operators in the 1970s and 80s. It included release dates for games. The RePlay and Play Meter catalog issues were annual/semiannual issues listing recent games by company, along with release dates. Play Meter used release dates while RePlay usually listed the month the game was announced in their magazine (though the two wer often the same).
If the game appeared earlier at an industry show, I'll note the date the show started.
For the games above, here is what I have:
Challenger: 11/1981 (DRA), 12/81 (MAME, PM, R), shown at 1981 AMOA show (10/27)
Round Up: 11/81 (DRA, MAME), 12/81 (PM, R) - also at AMOA
D-Day: 3/82 (DRA), 4/82 (MAME, PM, R) - shown at AOE (3/26)
The Pit: 4/82 (DRA, MAME, PM, R) - also at AOE
Loco-motion: 3/82 (DRA), 4/82 (MAME, PM, R) - shown at AOE (3/26)
Tunnel Hunt: 7/82 (PM, R), 8/82 (DRA)
Swimmer: 11/82 (MAME, DRA), 12/82 (PM) - shown at West Virginia MVA show (9/26)
I think that Tunnel Hunt is game F and Swimmer is G.
D-Day and Loco-motion are probably C and E.
Challenger and Round-Up are games A and B.
If we assume that the games are listed in the same order in the they appear in the chart, things line up rather nicely. Challenger and Round Up could be transposed, but they both sold about the same number. D-Day and Loco-motion could be switched too, but game C sold fewer than game E.
Can we turn this into actual production numbers? Sadly, no. the percentages listed appear to be percentage of total video game sales in dollars, not units (as will be clearer below). To turn this into actual production runs, we'd have to know how much each game sold for, which we don't.
The annual reports, however, do sometimes list the minimum and maximum sales prices for Centuri's games, so we can use that to get possible ranges of sales numbers (note that a given game could sell for different prices at various points during the year - i.e. Centuri might have offered it at a discount once sales dropped off.
So here is the data for 1982:
Aggregate # of Units produced: 8,682, Gross Revenues: $14,760,922
“Production runs…varied from approximately 500 to 2,000 games.”
Sales price varied from approximately $1,400 - $2,000 (current price of $1895)
B (Round Up or Chall.) 11/81 9.9% $1,461,331 731 1,044
C (Locomotion or D-Day) 2/82 6.9% $1,018,504 509 728
D The Pit 3/82 20.8% $3,070,272 1,535 2,193
E (D-Day or Locomotion) 3/82 3.9% $575,676 288 411
F (Tunnel Hunt) 6/82 7.8% $1,151,352 576 822
G (Swimmer) 9/82 10.1% $1,490,853 745 1,065
Other 31.5% $6,140,544 3,070 4,386
Total 7,380 10,544
NOTE - the percentages listed only add up to 62.3%. The chart only lists figures for games intrduced in fiscal year 1982 (which ended 10/31). I suspect that the discrepancy is due to games from 1981 that were still selling in FY 82. In fact, I'd guess that the other 37.7% is almost entirely, if not entirely, due to Vanguard, which was released late in 1981. If we assume that Vanguard sold for $1700 (which again, is probably not true) we can ballpark that it sold around 3,300 units in 1982.
How about 1981? That one's slightly harder.
The percentages for game A and B are 7.4% and 1.1%.
Again, we known that Phoenix is game C.
Here is the release info:
Eagle: 10/80 (DRA, PM), 11/80 (R) - shown at a distributor show on 9/12
Phoenix: 11/81 (DRA), 12/81 (MAME, PR, R) - shown at AMOA (10/29)
Route 16: 4/81 (DRA), 5/81 (MAME, PR, R)
Pleiades: 6/81 (DRA, R), 7/81 (MAME, PR)
Vanguard: 7/81 (MAME - Japan rls date??), 9/81 (DRA, R), 10/81 (PM)
Challenger: 11/1981 (DRA), 12/81 (MAME, PM, R), shown at 1981 AMOA show (10/27)
These don't correspond precisely to the order listed. (i.e. Phoneix is game C but is listed second). If we eliminate Challenger and game B, howeer, the others line up almost perfectly. Could B be Challenger? The dates are way off but the sales figures seem right (Challenger or Route 16 had to be the lowest selling game). Also, Challenger was the only game on the list that Centuri designed in house. Could they have released it in limited run earlier? Another possibility is that they're talking about Killer Comet, which was also designed inhouse. Centuri released it at the same time as Eagle and later licensed it to Game Plan. Maybe they got the two confused (by the time the report came out, Challenger had been released)
Let's go with the assumption that Challenger is B and the rest are in list order.
1981 (fiscal year ended October 31)
“Production runs…varied from approximately 500 to 15,000 games.”
Sales price varied from approximately $1,400 - $2,000
B (Challenger?) 9/80 1.1% $676,063 338 443
C Phoenix 1/81 42.4% $26,059,166 13,030 18,614
D (Route 16) 3/81 4.9% $3,011,555 1,506 2,151
E (Pleiades) 6/81 15.5% $9,526,346 6,805 4,763
F (Vanguard) 8/81 23.6% $14,504,630 7,252 10,360
Other 6% $3,134,475 1,567 2,239
Total 30,730 43,900
The percentages here add up to 94.9%, so it doesn't look like many 1980 games sold in 1981.
How about 1983?
NOTE that Centuri changed their fiscal year end from 10/31 to 12/31 in 1983.
We know that Gyruss is game B and Track & Field is game E. Once again, the rest seem to correspond to the list Unfortunately, I couldn't find figures for total video game sales or total units sold in 1983 (still looking through the document).
“Production runs…varied from approximately 200 to 14,000 games.”
Sales price varied from approximately $600 - $2,000
B Gyruss 4/83 37.0% $12,036,030 6,018 20,060
C (Guzzler) 4/83 1.7% $553,007 922 277
D (Aztarac) 9/83 1.3% $422,888 211 705
E Track & Field 10/83 35.3% $11,483,024 5,742 19,138
Other 23.5% $7,644,506 3,822 12,741
Total 28,708 95,692
That's all they gave for 1984. Too bad (they had already abandoned video games for sports equipment and seafood by the time the annual report came out).
We do have numbers for Track & Field and Hyper Sports, however (note that the two accounted for 87% of video games sales in fiscal 84, with Track & Field alone accounting for 63%).
Games introduced: 4 (Hyper Sports, Circus Charlie, Badlands, Mikie)
As far as I am concerned, you can provide as much financial/sales/chart data as you want, as I share your fascination with this material. Its a shame that Centuri did not reveal sales figures in its reports (though also not a surprise), but at least the percentages do confirm that games like Gyruss and Track & Field that are remembered as classics today were also highly successful in the marketplace. Track & Field in particular appears to have done remarkably well considering 1983 and 1984 were down years for the arcade industry and few cabinets in that period were cracking 10,000 units.ReplyDelete
Looks like your math's a bit off in your '83 estimates...... I have Gyruss closer to 8,000 units.ReplyDelete
Also Guzzler was primarily a kit game, so most likely it's number was closer to 1000.ReplyDelete
Where is Time Pilot?ReplyDelete
Some of the lower volume games explain why I haven't heard of them. Maybe. But it is surprising seeing a list of games I've never heard of, then one I was completely aware of. Man, I sure wish we knew more about where the games went back then. If only 1500 were produced, and it was something I saw many times in Texas, how many were in the state? Did some states not have a distributor at all, thus why some I never encountered even at "Houston's Largest Arcade" at the peak years? Interesting.ReplyDelete