I mean, here's the thing: What they're proposing (multiplayer bingo in the theater) isn't something that can't be replicated online.
I will tell you that the biggest thing I miss about the "gaming scene" is the social aspect of it all. Personally, I was part of the Street Fighter crowd. You knew the guys who played, you knew their names and their general personality and fight style. You talked about gossip about the rumors of the next version, competitions coming up, who won, who lost, and even who got into a fight one time. You just don't get that sitting in your own bedroom.
But this lost "sociability" is even more pronounced with the Dance Dance crowd. To take it a step further, I can totally see a Guitar Hero arcade, complete with a mini-stage and people rocking out. And if they're crazy enough, even cosplayers.
The point is, for the young crowd, the arcade wasn't just a mecca for gaming. No, it was a place for like-minded kids to connect and socialize. The arcade merely a catalyst for them to form those connections.
I've also pitched this idea before, but it never quite materialized in execution, in part because many arcade owners see themselves as small business first and gaming second. Sure, they pay the bills, and I understand.
However, with that kind of mentality comes arcade owners who saw kids that weren't there to socialize, but rather, they're there to loiter. And that's when bad things happen, both to the business and to kids who really are driving the business.
I still hold hope for someone out there who will realize this and do arcades "right" in that it gives kids a place to not just socialize, but actually participate! And I can't think of a better catalyst for that than an actual Guitar Hero stage arcade.
Then, add an "American Idol" type competition to the mix for prizes and entrants paying above normal fees to compete, and you could have a blockbuster on your hands. Maybe. It worked for us Street Fighter crowd.
I applaud the theaters making innovative use of existing technologies for additional revenue. However, while I do think they are on the right track, I think they're still barking up the wrong tree. They're emphasizing something "different" through the use of technology, when they should emphasize on sociability. After all, technology can and does get replaced all the time. However, the desire for people to socialize and connect will never change.