Welcome to Newsbytes, a post that curates news from around the world of arcades & pinball. It’s the first Newsbytes of the year, so let’s catch up a little on what is going on in the business.
Just note that due to a very busy weekend, I am going to have to cut this one slightly shorter than usual, but we’ll catch up with anything important throughout the week as possible – or just move some others over to the next edition of this post.
Sega’s JP Arcade Division Comes Under A Rebranded Sega Toys
Sega has changed much about their business in Japan since 2020, and this week, they announced that by the start of April, their amusement machine division will be fully integrated into what has been up to now their toy division, Sega Toys… thereby renaming it to “Sega Fave”.
Per that release:
In the midst of the great business opportunities presented by these megatrends, we integrate our Amusement Machine business and Toy business, aiming to provide people with new entertainment based on the strengths of the mutual businesses and to offer a comfortable time and place in many scenes, and create new experiential value.
What does this mean? At face value, it sounds like they’ll be developing new machines with a brand new approach – “experimental value” might bring to mind the spirit of some of their greatest arcade works from years gone by. However, when I asked someone who worked at Sega Japan for many years, as well as an industry insider in Japan (who is not a part of the company), it has to be said that they both took a slightly more pessimistic approach to the news in terms of video games.
The Japanese side’s output has been somewhat quiet since 2020/21, when the arcade and consumer development divisions were merged together. There has been occasional big game and hardware updates to ongoing series, like Initial D The Arcade, Eiketsu Taisen and Chunithm New, but few properly fresh releases. It is worth noting that Sega’s toy division did play a large part in creating the Astro City Mini, so if little else this could open up more opportunities on that front:
And with this integration still not coming into effect until April, it’s not currently clear whether what is left of Japan’s arcade video game development will be included in this. Perhaps they will see a change, but I can’t help but feel that it will fall much more on the prize development side for UFO Catchers and the like. It is a bit hard to expect anything like a new OutRun game coming out of them for arcades right now, especially in Japan, but I’d be very happy to be proven wrong about that.
Either way, the Sega name will as usual remain in arcades out West thanks to Sega Amusements. This news does not affect them.
GENDA Develops Their First Arcade Game
While Sega Japan makes changes again, the company that came in and scooped up their location operations way back in November 2020 looks to expand their reach further still. We heard a while ago that they were pursing some game development, and now we know what their first game is called: Breaking Down Arcade. This has been made in collaboration with the titular Japanese athlete company, who I hadn’t heard of until now but must be a pretty big deal over there:
Astute readers will notice that this is much like Sonic Blast Man, specifically its 2011 revival Sonic Blast Heroes. In fact, it even seems to rebadge the exact same cabinet originally made for the latter – so Taito may well have been involved by licencing out their design as part of this too. It will debut exclusively at 200 GiGO locations in Japan this Spring. No clue if this is eventually destined for the West – probably not – but if it is, it’ll definitely need a name change and some better localization, heh.
ExA-Arcadia Announces New Aka & Blue
Expanding out from Japan, exA-Arcadia is set to launch the next entry into the Touhou series this month, but before doing that, they have a new 2023 Edition of Aka & Blue Type-R available for purchase. A&B was the first release for the exA when that launched back in 2019 and the cart went out of production some time ago – this release allows those who might have missed out on it all the chance to still grab it.
This edition features the latest software build of the game (which also only has 1 frame of input lag) but also comes with a new art set designed for Viewlix cabinets. There is also one of four POP standees that you can get, which is great for helping promote the game if you have one on location.
Both the art set and POP standees are available separately for interested customers but for those who want it all, there’s the Limited Edition set, which includes both of those along with a branded Sanwa joystick/button kit.
EAG 2024 Coming Next Week
EAG is coming up soon in London, UK – that being the amusement-focused trade show that takes place there every January. Formerly known as ATEI, this year’s expo will begin on Tuesday. We will have a preview of this up tomorrow but until then, here’s one exhibitor (UDC) showing off their hyper fast booth setup:
Play Arcade Games in Your Mercedes – Please not while your eyes are supposed to be on the road
We’ll see you soon – hope you had a great weekend!