We all know that arcades are pretty much dead in the U.S. I personally used to have four within ten minutes of my childhood home and now can’t get to one without driving for two hours. But outside the U.S., specifically in Japan, arcades are still holding pretty strong thanks in no small part to DDR fanatics and light gun games. But now it seems that even in Japan, the last bastion of true arcade gaming, the arcade is dying. Reuters is reporting that Namco Bandai Holdings, who Reuters claims is best known for Tamagotchis (scoff!), is closing 50-60 (around 1/5) of its arcades in Japan. This following Sega Sammy Holdings announcement that they will be closing nearly 100 of their arcades in the near future.
But who is to blame for the wanton destruction of these once proud gaming meccas? Why none other then the destroyer of the hardcore, the purveyor of casual gaming, the bringer of the end of all things good and pure, the Nintendo Wii (cue evil cackling and lightning). The end is extremely f**king nigh! OK, maybe I’m ramping it up a bit, but the Wii has already been a surprise bane to Sony and Microsoft and now it’s reaching outside of the console market and starting to effect other areas of gaming.
“A lot of the types of games that people played at an arcade can now be done at home,” Namco Bandai Holdings’ company spokesman Yuji Machida said to Rueters.
Remeber WiiFit is already out in Japan, meaning that even arcade games that require foot interaction like snowboarding or skiing can now be done at home. Machida points out that a large chunk of the population bought Wii’s last year and claims that kids are now more interested on spending their money buying new games and accessories for the Wii than going out to arcades. The Reuters’ article also points to the astronomically high costs of gasoline adding to the woes of arcades. If you can get everything at home and not have to waste gas, why would drive to an arcade? Sad, but true. So what do you think? Is the Wii the final nail in the world of arcade gaming’s coffin?