How do I Start a Game Franchise?

G. Wiesen

As you begin to look at starting your own game franchise, you should consider just what type of business within the gaming industry you are really interested in starting. If you want to be on the retail side of the industry, then you should consider one of the few major game retail outlets and contact the company for further franchise information. You might consider also starting a game franchise that is still customer-based but not as heavily retail-oriented, such as a gaming café, arcade, or similar business.

Game developers may break into the industry as a tester.
Game developers may break into the industry as a tester.

The reality of video game retail is that it is predominantly controlled by a few large companies. Major electronic outlets and retail superstores often sell video games and many people shop at these locations out of convenience and ease of access. There are only a few remaining specialty video game retail companies from which you could choose to start a game franchise. Of these, GameStop®, the largest video game specialty retailer in the United States, does not offer franchise opportunities and only opens company-owned stores across the country.

In some jurisdictions, it's common to find gaming establishments that serve beer.
In some jurisdictions, it's common to find gaming establishments that serve beer.

Fortunately, there are some game franchise opportunities still available for those who are interested. Examples such as Game On® and Play N Trade® are among the fastest growing and may be the most viable, since they offer distinctly different approaches and setups than other competitors. If you are interested in starting a game franchise through them, then you should contact them for further information. You should know, however, that the initial capital needed to start these types of businesses can often be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You might also consider a different type of game franchise, such as an arcade or game café that offers gaming as a service, rather than focusing primarily upon sales. While traditional arcades may not be as popular as they were in the past, new forms of arcade and social gaming locations provide new and unique opportunities for starting a game franchise. These types of businesses seek to establish physical locations in which members of the perpetually growing gaming community can meet, relax, and play.

Gaming cafés are places where gamers can get together and play games through computers and gaming consoles, sometimes on their own computers and sometimes on machines provided by the business, while enjoying the surroundings and services of the café. This can often include food and drink, as well as potential membership fees for greater bandwidth access or preferential services. Some locations have even established businesses often referred to as “barcades” in which traditional arcade games and entertainment are combined with serving alcoholic beverages, to provide a distinct gaming environment for adults. You might strongly consider opening a game franchise in one of these types of businesses, if typical sales and retail work does not appeal to you.

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Discussion Comments


@umbra21 - It's probably not as bad as it seems from the outside. I know in South Korea that multiplayer gaming is a big deal and many young people there consider internet and gaming cafes to be their second home.

I don't know if you could get such a popular game franchise going here but I don't think it would hurt to look into it.


@pastanaga - I agree, but I do think there is still a market out there for a video game franchise based around multiplayer gaming. I've seen a few pop up in my town recently and they always seem to have groups of people in there.

If it was done the right way it could be a lot of fun. I actually think what they need to do is make these sorts of places more appealing to casual gamers, like arcades used to be, where someone who isn't already a hardcore fan can feel comfortable going in to play for an hour with their friends.

At the moment I would feel a bit out of place, because it seems like only people who really already know what they're doing go there.


If I was going to buy a game franchise these days I would think long and hard before basing it around simply selling games and consoles. So many of those places have gone out of business now, because it's just cheaper to get the games online. You really can't beat online stores in price, because they don't have the same overheads. They can operate from a bare bones office and warehouse and they can store their stock without needing to display it.

If they only sell downloadable games then their prices will be even lower and only really related to their website and stock.

Even if you think you can compete with that, you still have to deal with the fact that the real life stores that have survived must have something special and probably have all existing the local consumer base as loyal customers.

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