Arcade sticks, hitboxes, and mixboxes are fantastic for becoming better at fighting games, but what they are also good at is generating extra income if you have the right business mindset. In fact, you can create a fulltime business out of arcade sticks, much like Qanba has.

Of course, the simplest way to earn with arcade sticks is to become good at fighting games and win tournaments, which could gain you prizes. While that is simple in concept, it can be hard to consistently win fighting game tournaments, especially the ones large enough to give big prizes. Plus, those tournaments will likely require travel by plane. Thus, let us explore other options to make arcade sticks lucrative.

Selling Arcade Sticks and Parts

The primary components of an arcade stick are quite simple:

  • Joystick
  • Buttons
  • Switches
  • Wires
  • PCB
  • Case
  • Artwork

Make it your mission to build one arcade stick at home. If you succeed, get in the groove of building many. Once your quality control becomes good and you know how long it takes you to build an arcade stick, consider selling arcade sticks.

Optimally, you would set up an ecommerce store, much like Focus Attack and Arcade Shock, which are our personal favorites. They carry a range of products from arcade sticks to individual parts. By the way, you do not have to only sell your own products. You can buy products wholesale from other manufacturers and offer them for competitive prices.

Now, Arcade Shock and Focus Attack are major operations with teams behind them. If you are starting solo, you can use an ecommerce solution like Shopify, which is a platform we have experience with.

If you would like to see a live example of a Shopify store that sells relevant products, check out RetroArcadeCrafts. However, if it seems too much like a big company and therefore intimidating to you, then check out LeafCutterLabs, which is a much smaller Shopify operation.

Other ecommerce solutions we have seen include Big Cartel and, of course, Etsy. Some of the stores that have caught our attention are JxKDesigns as well as Nipe Arcade Originals, which are Big Cartel and Etsy stores respectively.

Here is an inspiring success story. A popular product is the Fightboard, which is on Etsy. It is a small controller with all keys, and while it may have taken the designer, who goes by thnikk, a long time to come up with the concept and implement it well, everything was probably smooth sailing from thereon after, meaning the units produced after the first one were probably produced much faster.

Now, thnikk has converted more than 10,000 sales, and assuming they were all sales of roughly $100 each, the result before taxes and other costs is a whopping $1,000,000! It would not be surprising to see thnikk on Shark Tank soon…

Designing Arcade Stick Artwork

If you are already an artist, the primary step you need to take to transition into the world of arcade sticks is to create artwork with arcade stick templates in mind. Basically, you would need to create the artwork to cater for buttons, joysticks, and so on.

It would be optimal not to have crucial artwork elements overlap with the joystick and buttons. For example, if a fighting game character is included in the design, consider having him or her on the left side of the panel to avoid being covered by buttons.

Once you get the hang of arcade stick artwork, the fighting game community is constantly thirsty for good artwork to the point that you may share your artwork online for the sake of sharing it, but people want to do business with you. While you can run your operation through Twitter, for instance, consider more state-of-the-art options like Fiverr, but more preferably, you can start your own website, which is almost as easy as setting up a Facebook page these days.

Fiverr is our personal favorite as we have the most experience with it both as buyers and sellers. Furthermore, its reputation speaks for itself. We ourselves have our own custom artwork service!


The goal of using arcade sticks, hitboxes, and mixboxes is to improve at fighting games as well as have fun. However, an element that cannot be overlooked is that you can make arcade sticks lucrative. See which venture interests you and test the waters. If anything captures your interest, then you may have found yourself a decent side income if not a venture you can pursue fulltime!

Realize that the likes of Qanba are run by people who probably put on their pants one leg at a time like you. If they can make an arcade stick business, then so can you!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.