Arcade sticks are expensive because of their many parts, manufacturing costs, labor costs, and shipping costs. These are the primary components of the average arcade stick:

  • Joystick
  • Buttons
  • Case
  • Switches
  • Wires
  • Printed circuit board
  • Artwork

If you look up the prices of the individual parts, you will realize that they will often come very close to the price of a premade arcade stick. However, it is much more convenient to buy an arcade stick because:

  1. It was already made for you.
  2. You do not have to worry about faulty hardware if the manufacturer is reputable.
  3. The manufacturer can usually be contacted if any problem arises.
  4. You can talk with other owners of the arcade stick for tips and tricks.
  5. Reselling it should be easier if the brand is popular.

Making Arcade Sticks Is Hard

While you may be able to put together an arcade stick yourself for less money, the main opportunity cost would be the time you spend. Major companies have likely streamlined their manufacturing process to constantly produce arcade sticks while minimizing errors to almost zero.

It all comes down to what you prefer and also your skills. Making an arcade stick from scratch is tricky, and buying an arcade stick is worth the extra bucks given the assurance and convenience you will get if the company is reputable.

The Truth About the Prices

In reality, most arcade sticks that go for the average price of $150 have a narrow profit margin. The companies behind them can only generate significant profit by selling hundreds if not thousands of them. So, buying an arcade stick is usually a bargain and has a good ROI if you are serious about taking your fighting game skills to the next level.

You probably think an arcade stick is expensive because you are comparing it to the standard controller. An arcade stick is a specialized product that could be the difference between being a casual player and a tournament player.

Our Recommendations

If you decide to take the plunge and invest in an arcade stick, you can start by checking out some of our top 10 lists: