For many, the SEGA arcades are an institution in Japan, and gamers around the world dream of visiting those classic red buildings. For more than 50 years, the company's arcades were seen across Japan, but those days are coming to an end in 2022.
In 2020, Genda, Inc. purchased 85.1% of the shares of the company's shares. Fans of the arcade scene will still be able to visit these locations, but they will no longer feature the familiar logo and branding that has long been a staple.
These arcades will not be closed, but will instead be rebranded under a different name, as the company will sell its shares of ownership. For many, it just won't be the same.
After 50 years, SEGA leaves the arcade scene in Japan, sells to Genda Inc.
The pandemic hit the arcade scene hard, with people fearing going to crowded areas to game when they could play at home instead and be safe. This has also likely affected the business of gaming cafes, but the company has made the decision to move on from this as well.
Since the 1960s, the company has been an institution of arcade gaming in Japan, from Joyopolis to the more familiar arcades. A decline began in 2020 when they closed the famous Akihabara arcade, which was a tragic loss. The remaining stores will live on under a new name - GiGO.
The chairman of Genda GiGO commented on the announcement, discussing briefly the plans for change going forward when it comes to the arcades:
“Sega stores across the country will be switching their store names to GiGO, to express our gratitude for Sega’s 56 years of history and our desire to be an oasis that quenches people’s thirst for real entertainment. We will start with Ikebukuro, Akihabara, and Shinjuku. Then to the whole country.”
Arcades have certainly been losing business thanks to the ongoing pandemic, but this could also be due to the ease of access gamers have in the modern era. This will not be the end of the company’s arcade game cabinets or games themselves, simply a changing of the guard when it comes to the control of the arcades themselves.
At least fans of Club SEGA will always have them in the previously released Yakuza games. As of 2022 though, this is the end of the arcades as fans know them, and the start of a new era under Genda GiGO.