Japan, often considered the last country with a passion for the arcade experience, is starting to lose interest in coin operated entertainment. Two of the biggest arcade chains in the region have already closed the doors at over 20% of their locations, and earnings continue to plummet.
Some in the industry are blaming the latest generation of consoles for sending the 6.9 billion dollar industry into a slump. Others blame the cigarette smoke that fills Japanese arcades, the expense, or the lack of innovation. When you get right down to it, it’s really the fact that you just don’t need the arcade anymore. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love arcades. I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of both hours and dollars in them. However, it’s gotten to the point that besides the zomg-rip-off ticket/prize system and the creepy guy who stands a little bit too close while he watches you play, there just isn’t much at this point about the arcade experience you can’t get at home.
Hopefully the industry manages to come up with something that is both enticing to many and unique to the arcade environment. Otherwise, it seems that even in the arcade capital of the world, arcades might be done for.