Japan used to be the one, big remaining sanctuary of arcade gaming from the console onslaught, but that seems to be changing fast as we speak.
Reuters reports that tough times are coming to the industry as the Nintendo Wii leads the charge in the competition for the time and money of kids in the country. The innovative console took away things that one belonged only to special arcade machines, causing concern about the future of the business.
After the 32-bit era was ushered in, arcade gaming took heavy hits across the planet. In Japan, though things have remained relatively good until recently.
Reuters reports that the US$ 6.9 billion industry in Japan is caving in under heavy competition from current-gen consoles. The biggest raider happens to be Nintendo’s Wii, which is selling like mad all over the planet.
Japanese gamers now find themselves at home, enjoying active gaming that once was offered only in special arcade machines. The motion-sensing advent has apparently taken away the one trump card that amusement centers had over consoles.
Jay Defibaugh, an analyst at Credit Suisse. explains the trend from a business standpoint. “A large element of the problem is innovation and in Japan, it’s pretty clear that Nintendo has been the leader in innovation,” he says.
Japanese children see it in a much simpler light. A 15-year old student described arcades as “noisy, expensive, and cigarette smoke-filled.” He said he would rather go to a theme park or play at home.
Reuters further reports that numerous branches of major chains have started shutting down. With the way things are going, arcades could be facing major changes in design and structure soon if they are to survive.