Statistics are fun – they are the perfect way to prove or disprove someone in an argument and stand as the perfect way to fill in small talk. Of course when it comes to the arcade market we don’t have a lot of stats to go off of which can prove to be a challenge when we deal with the ever popular “arcades are dead” thing that we like to dive into every now and then. That and on this Friday, I’m not finding other news to discuss yet so here we go!
So how are arcades doing in Japan, according to JAMMA? Not too shabby from the looks of it. According to the numbers, the market grew through most of the past decade until 2007 when economic conditions caused a slight slide to occur. The same slide wasn’t seen on the console side in the same year although the estimates for 2010 and 2011 show a decrease on that side as well. The lousy economic conditions affect all sides of course and in the graphs you can see a negative change in the number of arcade facilities in Japan (which of course then can reflect lower sales) although if you read into it further they show that with several companies restructuring of their own arcades which they operate produced an increase in operating margins, which were actually across the board except in Sega Sammy’s case. They also break down sales of games by type, from prize winning and card-playing games to video only and music. Here it shows a decrease in some categories but in the case of “Music” and “Others” they are seeing pretty solid growth. They mention a specific effort to target “casual users such as families and couples” which we are starting to see in the US as well as it makes perfect sense to go this route.
What I get out of all this is while there has been some hurt, there also has been some growth depending upon where you look at it. The circumstances, at least in Japan is far from dire. How are things everywhere else? It’s hard to say without solid numbers of course – my own facility is doing great this year so far but I can’t say I’m excited to see gas approaching $3/gallon again here locally and there’s the added pressure of unemployment continuing to rise locally (well, nationally too last I checked), and a few other local factors. As always the best thing you can do is keep the machines working and get the word out there.
Any thoughts on these Japanese market numbers? You can see them all here.