It's like bowling, but not! Skee-Ball makes midway-skill, sports, and coin-operated games and attractions, including skee-ball, ring toss, the crane, basketball shooting, and football toss, among others. The company's newer game extensions include Strike It Rich and Buzz Off! Its products are found in carnivals, amusement parks, and arcades. Skee-Ball's games have become a mainstay at themed restaurants the likes of Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters. As part of its operations, the company also offers arcade management services, such as game area design, financial projections, and onsite management. The Skee-Ball game was invented and patented by J.D. Estes in 1909.
During the past few years, Skee-Ball's CEO Joseph Sladek has helped to extend the company's reach into new niches. It has done so with another games maker. In late 2007 Skee-Ball and Hasbro inked a multiyear licensing deal, giving Hasbro the rights to create games based on the Skee-Ball experience. Products, such as Bulls-Eye Ball (an electronic talking game) and Playskool Bulls-Eye Bounce & Roll, were born from their alliance and the first Skee-Ball-branded product debuts in 2009.
Skee-Ball has also spent some time developing new products in an effort to stay in front of its customers. In 2008, the company unveiled Strike It Rich, which looks like an oilrig. It also launched its Buzz Off! game that year. Historically, though, the prudent company has not thrown all its efforts into product development as its namesake brand carries as much weight as its competitor's brands.
Wurlitzer Company, which had acquired the rights to Skee-Ball in 1935, sold its copyright, patents, and all rights in 1945 to Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Skee-Ball Inc. was formed in 1974.