Dartslive - Has it peaked? Is it in decline?

Discussion in 'General Dart Talk' started by ducks, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. ducks

    ducks Active Member

    There is no more American Tour, and no Dartslive world event in North America this year. There are less world events. It looks like there is no World Final this year. The World blah blah blah has gone from eight stages and a final, to five stages and no final.

    Since the the original idarts concept bar closed in Taipei's high rent fashionable shopping area a couple of years ago, none has since reopened. The one Idarts venue Google Maps in the greater Taipei area is a batting cage center. It has six Dartslive machines, mini-bowling, baseball equipment, a few video games, and pay for play batting cages on the roof. It is only idarts in name. Not in spirit. A quick search of Dartslive shops in Taiwan reveals that iDarts venues are batting cage places or bowling alleys. The original idarts lounge concept is dead.

    The situation is bleak within 3 miles of my house here in Taipei county. Five pool halls no longer have Dartslive boards. Four had league teams, and four of those pool halls have closed shop entirely. Another pool hall with 4 boards is now down to 2. In the last five years, close to ten shops or restaurants have closed or gotten rid of their boards. DNA, one of those "good" darts bar which had a couple of teams and 4 boards prominently placed right inside the door has eliminated 3 boards and put its one remaining board in a small room in the back. I talked to the staff last week. They only kept the board because they still have a team and some loyal old timers. They are no longer a dart bar.

    A couple of days ago I talked to a guy at the pool hall nearest my house. During our talk he said something that rang in my head like a bell. He said,"When darts was at its most popular." He explained to me that the pool hall had no choice, but to get rid of the Dartslive boards. The number of active players were in decline, and the Dartslive boards were too expensive to keep. They had four boards just a few months ago, all just inside the front door. They are gone now, replaced by a pool table. It must have been about 7 or 8 years ago. I remember being the only person shooting there. Then Dartslive made a meteoric rise, and the boards were busy every night and on weekends during the day. They had league games every Thursday night. They had four boards just a few months ago, all just inside the front door. They are gone now, replaced by a pool table.

    In parts of central Taiwan, many Dartslive venues have disappeared. Several of which only survived for a very short time. Some for less than two or three years.

    I have yet to see the latest Dartslive 3 boards anywhere in Taipei. Maybe I should get out more, but I get the feeling they aren't here. Just last week, I went to S-Darts shop in Taipei. Google Maps: Report Inappropriate Image It's a branch of the large online and brick and mortar Japanese retailer. It's the largest darts retail shop in Taiwan, in square footage, product selection, and number of boards. It opened last October, and has about a dozen boards, but all Dartslive 2. G Club, Google Maps: Report Inappropriate Image , which I visited last week, does not have the new boards. It's a huge venue downtown with over 20 Dartslive boards. G Club is part of Zansinryu Group, which operates several large local venues and also hosts the PDC Asian Tour, and big Dartslive events. Recently, several Dartslive boards were replaced by Unicorn Eclipse Pros.

    If any place in Taiwan were to have the new Dartslive 3 boards, I would have thought that G Club would have them, as they are arguably the most professional looking, poshest darts venue in Taiwan. Being the most professional looking place comes with a cost, though. It is not a drinking establishment. It does not in any way resemble the Dartslive concept bars from years past. It does not have the hip lounge atmosphere which attracts the young, well dressed, professional crowd. It does not have a full bar. It does not have an intimate atmosphere with sofas and low tables. It is big, open, and yes, looks like a place for darts, not a lounge for the beautiful crowd to hang out. Sure, the walls and high ceiling are sprayed night club matte black, and it's decorated in a minimalist modern cafeteria style, but it has the embience of an airplane hanger. As a consequence, it is often very empty, even on weekend nights.

    Let me count off a couple of the great darts lounge/bars downtown that have bit the dust over the last ten years. Duckbill, Double Bull, IDarts, and Dartslife TAIPEI > NIGHTLIFE > Darts Bars– Double Bull, Duck Bill, Darts Life, Chambord were the four big ones that I know of that cashed in during the up cycle. I loved Duckbill, Double Bull and Dartslife. They were cool places. I first met Royden Lam at Double Bull. He and his Hong Kong team came for a Taiwan visit. The Double Bull was run by my friend Danny. He is a past WDF rep for Taiwan. He's a great shooter, everyone likes him. He's a local legend. He and Paul Lim go back years and years. He's got tons of connections. He is one of the original two godfathers of darts here. If Danny couldn't keep Double Bull going, who can? He was the first of them to close up. He relocated to southern Taiwan where it's cheaper and warmer. These places above had a mix of Medalist, Arachnid, Phoenix, and Dartslive boards. If you liked crowds and wanted to see beautiful girls, beautiful guys, have expensive drinks, and play darts, these were the places to go for several years. Several more smaller Dartslive establishments have also gone under. There are still lots of Dartslive venues in Taipei, but many are not the hopping busy places of years past. The number of darts players, and customers are nowhere near what I used to see seven to ten years ago. I'm sure the sheer number of both Dartslive and Phoenix venues in Taipei seriously spreads players out among many more bars than in the past. But that's Taipei city. The county has seen the number of venues in decline. I predict that Taipei city will soon see fewer and fewer darts venues, just as the county has seen a drop in number of venues.

    The boom is over. The bust cycle has started.

    In the next few months Taipei will host the Asia International darts tournament, and a big Phoenix tourney. The last few years the AI tournament saw increased turnout each year. It will be interesting to see what this year brings.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  2. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    To be fair, I live in a primarily steel-tip city. I believe electronic dars was a little bigger in the late 90's here but steel-tip took over into the '00s. A few years back when Darts Live was really making waves, I started to see a lot of the boards going in. Several of our local pubs had both steel and Dartslive (I still have my card). I got online and played a lot here and there and being that I was originally a soft tip player, I was into it. However the novelty seemed to wear off fast. Pretty soon we started to hear stories of cheating. Lot's of it. People having a friend stand just to the side, out of camera view and hit buttons when the player would fake a throw. Also when a player was winning big in a match, the connection to the other player would mysteriously drop. There were a few bars where the boards were pretty popular a few years ago. In the last couple of years nearly all of those boards are gone leaving just the steel tip boards behind. I think some of the other brands have caught up on the technology too. There seems to be a lot more machine brands with the big screens and online play. I think there's a sports bar in town that has a couple of boards (they look like Medalists to me) and have the big screen and online options. I believe Arachnid is doing it now as well. I think the big thing though (for my area especially) is the novelty wore off. It's no longer a new, exciting concept. After everyone else caught up, it's no longer special. And for steel-tip players, after the novelty wore off and the frustration with cheating players, it's really easy to go back to the good ol' steel tip boards that cost nothing to play on.
     
  3. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    I played soft tip darts once in my life and just didn’t find it appealing. Here in Memphis area I have seen a few at places like clicks and I think they have em at Sammy Hagars Red Rocket place. So much of the electronic stuff and linked play seems like such a fad. Me being a golfer I can remember computer golf simulators. They were huge for a while and then frustration with operation and such caused it to fade.
     
  4. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    I used to live near Memphis (it's where I grew up). They used to have a ton of dart bars (all soft tip) and a decent league. There's a calcutta every month and a lot of money gets moved around! I really miss that calcutta tournament! I started on soft-tip (because it's all there was in the area) but now after playing steel for several years, I do prefer the steel game. The two games are a little different, but darts is darts. I just love to play. I don't care if it's steel, soft or lawn darts! I love the challenge, the competition and the comradery! If you played steel all your life it would take a while to get used to the lights and bells and bounce outs counting stuff of soft tip, but the challenge is still there. There's some really good shooters in your area too!
     
  5. CraigB

    CraigB Best looking Craig B in the forum! $:-{P> Staff Member Site Admin

    It's all part of the de-evolution of darts. First we have steel-tip, then soft-tip and, soon, people will be strapping VR devices to their heads and playing darts in their heads against imaginary opponents... Yay, progress.
     
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  6. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    I'm a legend in my own mind
     
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  7. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Electronic darts has always had issues with people being accused of 'sandbagging ' and I doubt that will change.

    As for idarts and dartslive I dont know but I will say this: despite my physical ailments,if there was a steel board in town I would play. However at about $20-22 a night for electronic I won't. It some math. The bar can have my money in drinks and food or I won't bother.

    That may be the issue with dartslive.
     
  8. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Yeah. There’s something about that cheap entertainment thing too. I wonder if you set up darts like billiard halls. Setup the board time and lights go on and have an hourly rate. Definitely Erik sandbag gets are always gonna be part of the mix. Squiggle, I have inquired to the dart league through their email address and go no reply from. My schedule as owner of our restaurant here in little Sardis MS doesn’t let me think about too much evening socializing but one day maybe. Sammy Hagars place looks like they’re blind draw is on Sunday nights so maybe I can make that one sometime. Until then I play against invisible opponents.
     
  9. ducks

    ducks Active Member

    Yes, I have often thought about why darts has never been pay for play for time. Put coins in, window goes up or lights go on and you can play. The closest I have seen is EZ Play entertainment center near my house. It is a bowling/pool hall/video game/darts all you can play. No smoking, no bar. The number one beverage is pitchers of milk tea. It's a totally kid friendly and non-smoking, non-drinking place for all the "nice" teens and twenty-somethings. 8 bucks gives you 3 hours to play all you want. Darts is set for no coin drop, video games no coin drop, pool you get the balls from the service counter, you put your name on the list for the bowling.

    Electronic darts has definitely hit the saturation point in Taiwan. Fashionable darts bars in downtown Taipei are no longer the thing. They have almost disappeared. There are a few higher end places left, and the remaining places really look like darts bars, not cool places to go for a night out. Most drinking establishments places have only 1 or 2 boards. The places with multiple boards are either darts retail shops or pool hall/darts clubs. The shops and pool halls sell beer and some offer hard liquor. The darts cycle goes on. I wonder what's next? With the Idarts concept in Taiwan now in sports mode, not bar mode, where is Dartslive going? Will the Dartslive 3 boards ever come to Taiwan?
     
  10. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    EZ Play sounds like fun as does darts and billiards club(except that the alcohol thug bugs me sometimes). I’m no teetotaler by, since working in pubs/clubs in the northeast I really don’t like belligerent drunks.
     
  11. ducks

    ducks Active Member

    An update on Dartlive boards close to me in Taipei county. According to my Dartslive app, withing the last month, 3 more places within 10 minutes of me no longer have Dartslive boards.
     
  12. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Sorry to hear it!
     
  13. ducks

    ducks Active Member

    I just reread my comments on G Club. It was a fantastic venue for this last weekend's Asian Tour stop, however, the great vibe I felt was because of the event. Every time I go to a big shoot there, it feels great, and looks great. However, on many ordinary nights, I have to stand by my original comments. The big screens are showing big sporting events or darts. It has lots of boards, and lots of space, but for some reason, it just feels a bit too big and too cold. It's like it's missing something. Maybe a more extensive food service. Maybe a more extensive drink menu. I don't know. On ordinary nights, I just think that there needs to be something other than darts to get people into the place to fill up all the tables. It could be that their kitchen is too small, so it would be impractical to expand the menu.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019 at 6:40 AM
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