JAMMA (also known as the Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association) announced today that testing will begin on April 1st, 2009 for the use of a universal cashless e-payment system. The test will last for one year and take place in four different game centers covering several hundred games. From what I could get out of the translation, it sounds like an IC Card system will be used which might not be new although the effort to get all game centers using the same system at one point is certainly a large endeavor. I imagine that the system will have to be inexpensive to implement down the road so that any size of game center could use the system – I know of a few arcades in my area which tried card systems several years ago which eventually gave up on the effort for reasons usually associated with costs and security. Still, there are some good advantages to using cashless systems as you don’t have to worry as much about employees stealing quarters or tokens (although this is where security comes into play – if they can make cards with a lot of points/credits on them and sell those on the street then that’s certainly not good for the operator.)
We’ll have to keep an eye on how this turns out and if successful I am sure that we will hear more about this effort in the not-to-distant future.