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Capcom’s financial review for the fiscal year 2010 contains some interesting information regarding the state of arcades in Japan, which have been in decline for some time now. It would appear that, despite an aggressive effort to revitalize the market, numerous factors contributed to the continuing lull in this segment of the games business. The report states:

 

In arcade operations, the entire industry was committed to a full-scale effort to revitalize the market. Implementing customer appreciation days and holding special events such as “Game Day” (November 23rd) across Japan were just two examples of such efforts. Despite these undertakings, this business segment remained in a downtrend due to the lack of appealing products and the adverse effect of the new influenza or “swine flu”.

 

Some of the steps Capcom took to help revive the declining arcade segment included hosting various events, special discount days, and — this one is a little more vague — trying to create a “comfortable environment” in order to attract more women and families to arcades. Part of the expansion effort also involved the introduction of Mario Party Fushigi no Korokoro Catcher and a partnership with Namco Bandai.

 

However, despite these efforts, arcade traffic continued to slow due to a decline in consumer-spending, the aforementioned influenza factor, and a general move toward “at-home” entertainment. In order to cope with the decline, Capcom were forced to reduce operating costs across their arcades and terminate two unprofitable centres entirely. As of March 2010, the company is operating 38 arcades.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.

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