Chuck E's Play Pass logo

Chuck E.'s Play Pass (sometimes referred to as the "Playpass") is a contactless NFC card system used by CEC-ABS Entertainment, Inc.

Concept Edit

The Play Pass was conceptualised and introduced in selected locations by CEC Entertainment in 2014.

The Play Pass' basic concept is a contactless NFC payment card system used to pay for turns at arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese's, CEC Entertainment's flagship family entertainment center chain. The card was introduced into a number of test locations from 2014 onwards, with a progressive rollout to locations nationwide, albeit with no specific completion date.

Chuck E's Play Pass

2014 "First Generation" card issued by CEC Entertainment, issued until June 2016.

2014 launch Edit

The Play Pass, upon launch, used CEC Entertainment's own 'Play Points' exonumia currency. Locations that adopted the system had their game token slots replaced with new NFC card readers designed for use with the Play Pass cards.

2016 revamp Edit

CEC Play Pass 2016

2016 "Second Generation" card issued by CEC-ABS Entertainment, issued from July 1, 2016 onwards.

In June 2016, Kabushiki Gaisha ABS acquired full ownership and control of Chuck E. Cheese's and CEC Entertainment, Inc., including all of its assets, the Play Pass system included. KKABS went about totally overhauling the Play Pass system, which lead to a temporary shut down of Play Pass test locations whilst the system framework was modified.

Later that month, the cards were re-activated, now with a brand-new structure. Instead of 'Play Points', the Play Pass now uses the old token system, basically making the Play Pass a means of electronically storing tokens on a card. The price for all games and rides was reset to 1 token per turn. Locations that used the cards up to this point used the same card readers as before, whilst locations that started participating in the Play Pass project after the revamp had new dual-standard card/token systems installed on all their arcade games. Token and/or Play Pass acceptance is marked on entryway signage. Some major locations currently tagged as "Play Pass only" are either being refitted or having Play Pass systems removed entirely - the decision is made on a manager's-request, location-by-location basis.

The First Generation CEC Entertainment Play Pass cards could be used with the new system with no modification as the system was changed at framework level. Playpoints were converted into tokens at a 1 point = 1 token ratio.

Reception Edit

Much negative attention came from initial customer experiences at their selected test locations.

Multiple complaints were pointed towards the "Playpoints" used by the cards. Unlike the tokens that made up the chain's "all games 1 token" selling point, at Play Pass locations, the price-per-turn has since varied per game. Another criticism is that the token slots were totally removed from the machines to make way for the contactless card readers used for the Play Pass cards, making tokens entirely unusable at such locations.

Many of the initial criticisms were addressed by the 2016 restructuring of the system. The relaunched system was met with a degree of applause for reintroducing the chain-wide "all games 1 token" selling point, and allowing the Play Pass to finally be used in tandem with the existing tokens.

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