It’s February, and these days that means it’s JAEPO time. JAEPO is the Japan Amusement Expo and with this event, we get a deluge of news from the arcade sector that is based out of Japan. There was quite a bit to cover last year, and there is plenty to look at this time.
Here is what has been revealed so far; taken from Japanese news sources like 4Gamer.net, Game Watch and Twitter. Also, thanks to The Stinger Report and Arcade Belgium for highlighting certain stories that I almost overlooked, such as our first headline:
Sega & Taito Announce Joint Agreement On Network Services
If I understand this correctly, this should expand the amount of content between the two services and allow venues with a NESiCA begin to access All.Net P-ras Multi 3 content. The question for me is how will the fees be handled? One thing we don’t hear about often are the heavy fees for using these services, which is one major driver for the creation of the Exa-Arcadia platform (which doesn’t have any fees apart from the purchase of the hardware & game carts).
Speaking of Exa, they are not attending this event like they did last year, but they will soon hold a “festival” event that will include announcements and allow the public to get some hands on time with the games.
Sega has a busy roster of games, that they showcased with this trailer immediately below, although I don’t seen anything new (i.e., that we haven’t seen previously) that seems destined for a Western release:
We’ve mentioned Ninja Trainer before, and it looks like it’s ready to release(I haven’t found mention of a launch date though).
The 2020 Arcade Edition of Mario & Sonic Olympics is launching on Saturday. It should be available within the next week or so in the US with a slightly different cabinet (and kit availability) too.
But perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of Sega so far is their sudden re-kindled interest in their digital distribution platform, ALL.NET P-ras Multi Ver. 3 (APM3 is how most abbreviate it). The service has been fairly low-key after launching with some big names back in 2018; I hadn’t heard of any new games for it in such a long time that I thought that they had abandoned it. By what I hear, they are extremely uncommon outside of Sega owned facilities in Japan due to aforementioned ridiculously high cabinet costs, network service fees, taxes & revenue shares (which after all is said and done, leaves the operator with very little for themselves).
But, the market has seen a shake up recently with the arrival of the Exa-Arcadia platform and it seems that Sega is wanting to flex their muscle with a “response” via the platform they already have out there. For this show, they have a decent amount of space dedicated to the APM3 platform and some new games that are aiming to launch on it, including:
- Guilty Gear Strive
- Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[cl-r]
- Dengeki Bunko FIGHTING CLIMAX IGNITION [Digital version]
- Senjin (new STG/shmup)
- Fantasy Zone [Digital version of the original]
- Goonya Fighter
- Koihime † Enbu RyoRaiRai Version 3
- Otoshu DX
- Pengo Online
- Rolling Gunner
- Umihara Kawase Fresh!
While it’s a much wider selection than what APM3 had, I guess the jury is still out on whether or not these will be of interest, as some of them have been in arcades before on APM2, and it is unknown whether or not these titles are being given some exclusive content or in certain cases being reworked to better fit the platform. That said, Guilty Gear is a name that always does very well in Japan, so I expect that it will garner some interest either way.
They also have StarHorse 4 there, and no, there are no indications that the big Sega Derby Card game is making a comeback out West anytime soon.
BemaniStyle is one great source for providing news and info on Konami’s latest titles; If you’re interested in Konami’s latest rhythm titles, you should already be following them. 😉
While we only sort of get Konami games over in the States now (thanks to Round1USA), it is better than nothing, so it’s possible that some of the following titles will make there way here in a limited fashion. That said, I’m not sure that any of the new titles demonstrated at JAEPO will see any sort of mass adoption outside of Japan. There is talk in Bemani fan circles that Konami is chomping at the bit to make a comeback in the US, but I don’t know if that’s true or just wishful thinking. The re-entry of any Japanese game maker in the West is much easier said than done, and just because they have games that you want to play, doesn’t mean that they actually make any money on location (the primary driver for purchases for arcade ops). Games from Japan have to be localized not just in translation but also on gameplay; Western audiences are very casual at this point and will often shun games perceived to be, or are, difficult. This in turn means they don’t earn. If there is an online service that charges a fee, this diminishes the number of locations interested in picking a game up. The games also need to be priced competitively, then need to be promoted by people who understand both the games and the market here. We’ll see if the stars align for Konami or not this year, but for new products that are aiming to land on the Eastern market:
It’s been around for over 10 years, but Konami is refreshing their Jubeat music game with a nice – but somewhat abstract – looking new cabinet. I say abstract as the angles seem to be all over the place. That said, these look absolutely beautiful in the dark:
— jubeatスタッフ (@jubeat_staff) February 5, 2020
Pop’n Music Welcome to Wonderland is the latest entry in Konami’s PnM series, sporting a large screen, lots of RGB LEDs and a powerful sound system. More details of this one are on the BemaniStyle Twitter.
Armored Princess Battle Conductor had an intriguing sounding name, and best I can tell, it’s kind of a response to Sega’s Ship This Arcade (just slightly less…odd). First a photo of the cabinet, then there is a livestream where Konami showed it off (jump to 17:45 if you want to see them begin to talk about it and a little further in to see the game being played). This has an interesting second display on the left that shows your “armored princess” in what appears to be an autostereoscopic 3D display, which creates, by what I can tell, an almost holographic appearance.
The newest iteration of the Beatmania IIDX cabinet is at the show, known as the Lightning Model. This will also house new software that goes by the name Beatmania IIDX 27 Heroic Verse. Soundtrack details are here.
— アリエス@ロケテサイト：アリエスの小部屋管理人 (@ariesukobeya) February 7, 2020
While I haven’t heard a lot in the way of announcements from Taito so far, they do have a few items, plus they had ZUNTATA performing, which is never a bad thing.
Tetote x Connect is a new rhythm game from the house of Taito that looks impressive when you have a group of synchronized players going at it. You have a digital companion that you dance with, and that is bolstered by the inclusion of the popular digital singer Hatsune Miku. Tetote x Connect is slated to launch in March.
本日の #テトコネ ブースでは
— テトテ×コネクト公式＠初音ミクコラボ決定！ (@tetoteconnect) February 7, 2020
The company is also demonstrating their airsoft gun game GunArena (renamed to On Point for the Western release), although the game has been available in Japan for some time. This might be a new software version as this official Taito tweet is calling it GunArena CE. It might be that it’s going to incorporate some of the changes that are being done for the Western release, which will include more of a barrier to help contain any stray BBs.
— タイトー (@TAITO) February 7, 2020
Bandai Namco Amusements
I haven’t seen much from Bandai Namco so far, but there is this news: Taiko No Tatsujin To Support 120FPS – Going above and beyond 60FPS hasn’t been an impossibility for arcades, with occasional games aiming for 90FPS (ReRave Plus and NEON FM run at that frame rate). But it’s not just about the game supporting these rates, it’s the monitors supporting high refresh rates and low input lag too.
There’s more that is bound to come along, but this should suffice for the moment. What have you seen from the show that