Yesterday morning I saw a Reuters article that said that Sega Gameworks was closing all of it’s locations and not just the seven we had previously reported about. Thanks to Kevin Williams who contacted the author of the article directly, it turns out that Gameworks is in fact liquidating the fifteen locations and not just the seven as they had previously reported. Keep in mind, a couple of locations have already been bought out by different companies and will stay open, but under new management. That could possibly happen with the remaining locations as well but it will be a waiting game there.
What does this indicate about the industry at large? That’s hard to say really as while Gameworks has suffered through the same tough economic conditions we all have been going through, other chains have survived, such as Dave and Busters or Tilt. Other independent stores have opened while a few have closed. Where we have also seen a few of the Gameworks locations picked up ans essentially saved I think it comes down to how well were these GW locations being managed. This whole thing is a shame as Gameworks were often one place where you could expect to find some uncommon or rare games as well as unique entertainment experiences. The one in Vegas is the only place I’ve ever seen an Afterburner Climax Super Deluxe or a pair of 2Spicy cabinets. But the reality one must face when running a business is that it can fail, in fact it’s more likely to fail than to succeed, no matter what endeavor you undertake but that is no reason to not try it out anyways.
As for effects throughout the industry, there were only fifteen Gameworks locations in the US, compare that to the hundreds of other businesses across the country which feature coin-op that will remain open (check ArcadeFly.com and Aurcade.com for listings) so this is NOT an “the end is near” sort of thing. There are still several companies producing new games (see our sidebar links) and just because Gameworks closes doesn’t mean that they will suddenly stop making games. It’s probably worth pointing out that in the console sector of gaming that Game Crazy will be liquidating all of their stores (and there are many more than fifteen of those around) but no one is claiming that it means that the video game industry is spinning down the tubes.
As for what Gameworks will do about the game cards, I believe that according to the law they need to give refunds when asked but I’m not sure where you would go to find out who to speak to about that.