Japanese arcades will start to accept e-money as well as coins this year. Most arcade machines have been solely coin-operated since 1973, so this is a big change (via Tech In Asia).
According to Nikkei, the reason for offering this extra payment option is due to the consumption tax hike passed in Japan back in April 2014. This has meant, simply, that more of a company’s revenue is taken away by tax. Most stores can raise the price by a little, but most arcade machines only accept 100 yen coins, so arcades either had to double the price to 200 yen in reaction to the tax hike, or keep it at 100 yen to keep players happy but take a hit to their revenue.
Being able to accept e-money at games machines means that arcades can have more flexible pricing options that suit them and the player. Coins will still be accepted.
Taito will be the first company to introduce e-money payment to its arcades, starting with Chiba Prefecture in May, and then rolling it out to 40 more arcades by March 2016, and then all of its remaining arcades. It’s predicted that this will cost Taito 1 billion yen ($8.25 million) in total.
Sega will also be bringing e-money readers to its arcades in July and will have it available at all 150 of its arcades by March 2016.
While Konami doesn’t have its own arcades it will be launching its own Paseli e-money system for operators to use on its games. It can also be used on competing games machines earning Konami commission on those – very sneaky.