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I’m curious about the economics of this

July 24, 2011

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In the middle of the food court at the Colonie Center Mall is a game machine. This machine contains only a few prizes, but they’re really expensive (at least as far as mall vending machines are generally concerned). The way the machine works is that the prizes – two NOOKcolors and an iPad – are suspended from strings that you have to try and cut with this mechanically guided blade on rails. It’s similar to those old “crane games” that are all but impossible to win.

Now, the cost to play is one dollar per try. Fine. But, knowing the prices of those devices (and neither is exactly sold wholesale), it would probably not be outrageous to say that for the machine to just break even it would need to take in about $2,000. I wouldn’t have thought much of that, knowing that these machines are the modern equivilant of carnival games; but the kicker is that a week ago the machine actually held two NOOKcolors and two iPads. Somebody actually won one already.

The machine hasn’t been there more than a few weeks, so it’s hard for me to believe that thousands of dollars have already been pumped into it. Which makes me wonder, should I give a try? I’ll leave it my faithful readers to decide. Let me know if I should play my luck.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Brandon permalink
    October 18, 2011 11:12 pm

    I have tried that game, for the price to prize it is worth throwing a couple bucks at it. When I played the game it got pretty close. In fact even fringed the string a little. The key is to have quick response and a good eye. Look down past the string like your firing a gun, once it come inline with cutting thing let go. Then go to side of machine to look across the string, the timing is key here, it doesn’t over shoot or under shoot it really stops when you let go. So it must be dead on in order to cut string. That’s what i figured out and only spent about $10, but well worth it, even tho didn’t walk away with anything. lol

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