Game arcades: Dead or Alive?

arcadeSome gamers remember the days when arcades ruled. It was at these places of fun where tens of millions of quarters were deposited in coin-ops by little kids, teenagers, and even adults.

But arcades are rare now. You’ll usually only find them in the lobbies of movie theater complexes, specialty restaurants, or along the beach boardwalk attractions.

In Japan, the opposite is true. Arcades are everywhere from bus stops, to shopping centers, to the local store. But Makoto Osaki, head of Sega’s arcade division, laments the fact that game arcades in America are virtually extinct.

"Let’s not even go into the overseas market… it’s practically dead… The market there is entirely redemption [prize] machines now. The users in America just don’t go to arcades anymore, because they don’t see why they should invest the effort when they have games at home…

In Japan, you’ve got arcades near train and bus stations that the vast majority of the people have to pass going to and from work, so they get a lot of traffic."

But in spite of the wide availability of arcade stops in Japan, it is getting harder for arcade game manufacturers to turn a good profit due to the shrinking user base.

"But when you’ve got a smaller market, you can’t afford to give those sorts of games as big a budget, and so you see far fewer of them make it into production. That’s why it’s so hard to get those sorts of alternative-input machines onto the market."

Will the game arcade palaces ever return to their former glory? At this stage, it is highly unlikely because of the convenience of game consoles and PCs. If stand-ups could provide a unique experience outside of home gaming, there may be a chance for a comeback.

Playing arcade machines are not as cheap as it used to be, and that may be another factor as to why arcades have dropped so much in popularity.

[via kikizo]


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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