Posted January 25, 2016 by Ryan Villanueva in Tech & Gadgets

Why arcades continue to survive in Japan


Arcades are a dying culture in the Philippines. Before the dawn of smartphones and iPads, arcades used to be THE place where all the kids hung out with their friends, and beat each other’s high scores playing Pacman and Street Fighter II. But now that games can be easily downloaded through home WiFi, the huge crowds populating arcades slowly deteriorated from the once lively, after-school hangout place of all the cool kids to empty spaces.

In Japan, however, arcades are a different story. These places are still thriving, and, in fact, never saw a decline in revenues. They’re still popular places among kids and the kids-at-heart. On weekends, Japanese arcades are still filled with young couples on dates, and those who are trying to beat each other at Tekken 7 and Street Fighter IV. So why are they still super popular in the Japan amid the ever-growing popularity of mobile gadgets?

Mobile-Suit-Gundam-Bonds of the Battlefield

The simple answer to that question is arcade consoles in Japan continue to evolve.

Japanese game developers continue to offer something new to the arcade crowd. Japan never gave up on its arcades, and continued to improve it from their design to the gaming experience.

One of the modern arcades that hit Japanese arcade shops is the “Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield” that allows players to experience what it’s like to be Heero Yuy, Trowa Barton, or any other Gundam Pilot. This means playing the game doesn’t only involve using joysticks and buttons; it also involves a headset communication device, mecha pedals, and levers for mobility and action. With 180 degrees full-screen monitors, players are be able to see everything within peripheral version inside the game. If the U.S. and Australia only had a game developer who thought about the arcade culture like Bandai does, perhaps their crowds wouldn’t have dissipated from as much.

Apart from the gameplay experience, the designs on these Japanese arcade machines are also marvelous. The cabinet artworks really help attract people to play these machines, and today’s advancements in animation further elevate these machines’ wow factor. They are, technically, quite similar to how Las Vegas’ video and poker machines sell themselves to patrons. Apart from the usual free deposit bonuses and free spins that online versions offer, physical slot machines use celebratory sounds and lively cabinet artwork to attract casino-goers. Slot games, both offline and online, are like video games now, what with high-def animations and themes that carry with them commercially-licensed characters like Batman and Lord of the Rings. Slot machines have been around for a very long time but they remain extremely popular among Vegas patrons particularly because they adapt with the times.

Always giving something new to the crowd and evolving with technology are two things that saved Japan’s arcade machines from completely dying out because of the pressure more popular mobile gaming industry has put on the market. Evolving, after all, is what makes any industry thrive. An industry that doesn’t evolve or adapt to consumers needs, such as the arcade culture in the Philippines, will never last in the ever-changing, ever-progressing world of consumer tech.

Ryan Villanueva

Your resident all around Flipgeek, from comics,movies,games,toys,music and even sports. A big Spider-man fan raised in the ways of the Jedi,who listens to punk rock and a sucker for chick flicks.