Timezone is a chain of Family entertainment centres owned by Australian company Leisure and Allied Industries, with stores in Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.
Timezone family entertainment centres, like most current arcades, previously had coin-operated arcade machines. However, Timezone had many special deals which caused many problems and much inconvenience for staff. For example, a flat fee could be paid to have a party at Timezone, where a group of people could play an unlimited amount of games for a certain period of time. This meant that, generally, a member of a group having a party would have to call a staff member over to a machine, where he or she had to open the game's cabinet and 'trick' the desired game into playing for free.
In response to this, and presumably to maximise profits, the entire Timezone arcade system moved to a magnetic swipecard system known as the Timezone Powercard. This meant that customers, rather than having to carry many coins around, could simply deposit a larger amount of money (for example, $10) onto their Powercard account. In order to use a machine, they simply had to swipe their card through a detector located on the machine, and the credit would be deduced from the card account. This system was supplied by Australian company Embed International.
In 2004, bonus paper tickets issued by some (higher-priced) arcade machines which could be redeemed for prizes were replaced by a ticket count kept on the card.
As of 2005[update], Timezone Powerclub credit in Australia lasts one year from the date of credit. Cards can be used at venues other than the one where it was issued, but only with credit put on at that venue.
As of 2008 after many Timezone stores closed, balances can be used at any venue regardless of where the credit was put on. However, in order to progress to the higher Powerclub levels, customers can only put credit on at the venue which issued the card. The exception to this is where the issuing venue has subsequently closed down and a new 'home venue' has been selected.
As an incentive to add credit to a Powercard, Timezone created three different types of Powercard:
Powercard is the basic type. As well as being issued with starting accounts, it is also issued as part of time-limited party deals. It is made of paper. This card offers no benefits.
Powerclub is the second type, issued when an account's balance reaches $30. This card offers VIP prices, as well as eligibility to participate in Powerclub events. A holder is given the opportunity to create a personalised greeting given by the card terminal's LCD whenever the card is swiped on an arcade terminal.
- Powerclub Gold
Powerclub Gold is the third type, issued when an account's balance reaches $250 (previously $500, $100 before that). Like the regular Powerclub card, this card offers VIP prices and eligibility to participate in Powerclub events, however it offers additional benefits like regular free games. As well as having a personalised arcade swipecard terminal greeting, the Gold card also has the cardholder's name printed on the front.
- Powercard Sapphire
Powerclub Sapphire is the fourth type, issued when you recharge up to $750. This type offers VIP pricing and two free Yellow Swiper games everyday (as long as you recharge at least $10 every 30 days). The Sapphire card is not available in Singapore
- Powercard Platinum
Powercard Platinum is issued when you spend $2000.
In Australia, regular pricing for games varies between AUD $1.00 and $6.00.(Some games like 'Giant Claw' can cost up to $6.00) Powerclub and Powerclub Gold cardholders receive VIP pricing, which is 10-30% cheaper, depending on the machine. (Generally, ticket-issuing machines have a minimal VIP discount because tickets have to be redeemed for prizes). Gold card members also receive one free non-prize game per day.
In Singapore, regular gaming for games vary between SG $1.00 and $3.00. Powercards and Powercard Gold cardholders receive VIP pricing, similar to Australia. There is also a Gold Platinum card, which entitles the holder to get two free games a year.