One thing that we have been preaching about for a long time is how arcades can and need to progress beyond the typical fare of racers, light-gun games, dancing titles, etc. That is a major reason why I have written the “Missing In Action” articles, because for arcades to thrive again they have to bring us unique experiences in other genres too. And now we’re not the only ones saying this, as Rob Fahey of GamesIndustry.biz has written an excellent article discussing the differences between the arcade market in Japan and in the West. He also discusses one thing that has become quite obvious to the industry as a whole – that casual games is where the money is at. Here is a brief excerpt from his article, hit the link below to read the full story.
Travelling around Japan in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been struck again by this contrast. Perhaps the most important aspect is not even the fact that Japanese arcades are plentiful and bustling with customers – it’s the fact that they represent the fruits of continual investment and evolution.
They have moved with the times and created whole new categories of game to draw in consumers – while at the same time, western arcades have for the most part declined into a depressing landscape of outdated machines and gambling games, interspersed with occasional recent Japanese imports which simply feel out of place.
Despite the sorry state of arcades in the UK and elsewhere in the west, however, I can’t help but wonder if the time isn’t right for some clever entrepreneurs and investors to revitalise arcades – taking some inspiration from Japan’s success, and some from the unique social and cultural demands of their home nations.
This is absolutely what is needed for arcades to thrive and I hope that soon we’ll start seeing such progress.