Has COVID changed the coin ops scene?

The Japanese Arcade Scene Could Be ‘On Its Last Life’

For many gamers, the idea of visiting an arcade is a complete novelty. However, the Japanese arcade scene is still a relevant gaming platform in the country. Sadly, this could all be about to change, according to a report by the Japanese Times [via TheGamer].

Japanese Arcade
Credit: Unsplash/pua_photos

In the report, the Japanese publication states that there were once over 26,000 arcades in Japan. Now, that figure stands at around 4,000. While this figure has been falling since 1986, the pandemic has been responsible for retiring some of Japan’s biggest arcade attractions. In fact, just last year, SEGA’s iconic Akihabara Building No. 2 closed its doors thanks to COVID-19. The publisher has also since sold off 85 per cent of its arcade division after suffering losses.

Is the Japanese arcade scene really ‘on its last life’?

Well, while things could pick up as pandemic restrictions ease, things are unlikely to revert back to the way they were. The fact that some gamers will have invested in home consoles and PCs throughout the pandemic could also mean they’re less likely to travel to arcades.

However, that’s not to say that the industry is going to vanish altogether. After all, some experiences can only be facilitated within an arcade. Therefore, if the likes of SEGA, Capcom and Square Enix invest in new hardware, more players could be enticed back to amusement centres.

Japanese claw machine
Credit: Unsplash/ajgarcia

Here’s hoping Japan’s arcades get a second wind. Sure, the glory days of the 1980s are long gone. However, arcades are still relevant in gaming today. I mean, while you can play the likes of Taiko no Tatsujin at home, nothing beats bashing along to the Evangelion theme tune on a huge drum in public.

Are you planning on visiting a Japanese arcade in the future? Let us know via our social media channels!

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Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/retrocram/Brittani Burns