Last year, SEGA closed its Akihabara landmark arcade after almost two decades. Since then, the Japanese gaming giant has been hit with a turbulent year amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, at one point even requesting 650 employees to voluntarily retire, and now the company is forced to close yet another one of its iconic arcade centers in Tokyo.
Located in Toshima, the SEGA Ikebukuro Gigo arcade opened its business 28 years ago, catering to both local and international gaming enthusiasts who’d visit the branch as part of a must-see tourist attraction. The center would often feature new and innovative games to test their market appeal and subsequently opened a taiyaki stand on its first floor in order to give hungry tourists and gamers somewhere to eat. Unfortunately, due to a lack of tourism now and a declining demand for retro gaming machines domestically, SEGA has decided to close the arcade at the same time its fixed-term building lease agreement came to an end.
“The fact that even big arcades are going out of business one after the other shows the situation’s severity,” said Morihiro Shigihara, a journalist and former arcade manager, to AFP when speaking about retro gaming arcades and the difficulties the industry is currently facing, especially with during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Elsewhere in the gaming industry, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X shortages could extend into 2023 due to chip shortages.