The first thing we look at when considering purchasing a new piece of tech is the price tag. And just as any other piece of periphery, arcade sticks are definitely up there on the expensive side. So why are arcade sticks so expensive? Are these prices worth it? Are they completely and utterly overpriced? Let's dive in and find out:
Arcade sticks at their very base aren't just buttons and a lever covered in plastic. Although that is what it might seem at first sight, there's more to it than you might think.
For an example, one of the components an arcade stick has, and probably the most important part is the Joystick. This is a digital input device, that holds a mounting plate, a restrictor gate, a joystick top and four wires, each corresponding to a different direction. What seems to be a simple lever actually unveils a lot more underneath. The four wires are connected to a PCB (Printed circuit board), which actually makes the stick work. That is another internal, and very crucial part of the arcade stick.
The next element an arcade stick holds are the buttons. These come in various sizes, builds and are made of different materials, all corresponding to their price.
The most expensive part of an arcade stick however is the case. Cases differ in each model, ranging from wood, plastic and metal to even plexi-glass in rare cases /no pun intended/.
All of these parts play a role in the final price tag, but why do some arcade sticks cost more than others?
A constant debate has always been Sanwa vs Seimtsu vs American manufacturers. These brands all offer different parts when it comes to how responsive they are, whether they are a bit stiffer and feel like a keyboard key, or offer a big nostalgic click that we're all accustomed to from our arcade days when we were kids. These parts all come at different prices, which is why generally speaking prices vary amongst different arcade sticks.
There are a lot of benefits in using higher quality parts, one of which being their sturdiness. A good quality stick will show its value after using it, and will definitely take on way more punishment /As in people smashing its buttons/ than a cheaper arcade stick, before the performance of the controller is compromised.
Another reason higher quality parts are a must is the overall feel of the arcade stick. Comfort should always be cherished above all else, especially in prolonged sessions, and parts on the higher shelf generally speaking offer exactly that.
The competitive aspect of course is also involved in different parts, mainly circling around response time and a general feel you get when hitting a button for an example. Which can be substantially different from the feel you get, using a cheaper arcade stick/.
Something people usually overlook or forget about is the shipping price. Arcade sticks take up a larger amount of space than a typical piece of periphery, making them more expensive to ship, increasing cost in all countries, excluding the ones in which the manufacturer itself is located in. This is usually added to the overall price you're looking at when browsing for an item, or in rare very, very cases will be added to the shipping cost.
Some people choose to make their own Arcade stick, whether they want to take on the challenge or simply enjoy craftsmanship. This is definitely a harder road to take, than simply clicking on the “Purchase” button in Amazon, but it can be rewarding. For an example, if you buy each individual part on its own the price tag drops significantly. Although this requires some craftsmanship, maybe it's worth looking into DIY arcade stick.
An option that is always available is waiting for a sale. Whether its a seasonal sale, or a random discount for a specific product, this is always something you should take into consideration as it may reduce the price drastically. The downside here is however the time restriction in which you have to purchase the arcade stick, and of course waiting for the actual sale to take place.
There are a lot of websites out there that sell used Arcade sticks. If you do not wish to pay the full price for an Arcade stick you can always browse one of those sites and buy a used one. Even if a single part for an example is broken or not working correctly, you can always buy spare parts online and replace them!
An arcade stick of quality may be expensive, but whether you would like to invest in one is up to you. Ask yourself this: "Are arcade sticks worth it?", if you are still unsure. It is more than certain that the price corresponds to the quality of the stick however, and my personal recommendation is to go for it!