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Wii Businesses Nintendo Entertainment Games

Namco Blames Wii for Arcade Closures 198

milsoRgen noted a story about Namco Bandai is shuttering between 50 and 60 arcades in Japan and blaming the success of the Wii for the closures. "A lot of the types of games that people played at an arcade can now be done at home," said company spokesman Yuji Machida. To be fair they also blame the high cost of gasoline as well.
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Namco Blames Wii for Arcade Closures

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  • O RLY (Score:5, Funny)

    by wampus ( 1932 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:40PM (#22360656)
    They blamed me personally for not upselling birthday parties when they closed the one I worked at here in the US.
    • Re:O RLY (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:46PM (#22360734)
      You probably didn't have enough flair either.
    • Re:O RLY (Score:5, Interesting)

      by banzairun ( 1236378 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @06:39PM (#22363786)
      Namco Arcades in America were always a joke.. In fact they almost single-handedly killed off most of the mall arcades by buying out many of the existing chains (Aladdin's Castle, Pocket Change, Time-Out, Monte Carlo, etc..). This wouldn't have been such a problem, but Namco does not like to purchase new equipment for their stores as a cost-saving measure, where most of the chains they bought out did. This turned their arcades from a destination to just the place you might go to kill a little bit of time before heading to the theater. Maybe this was their business model, but why go to an arcade when you know you're not going to see anything new? Only the few hardcore DDR and Tekken 5 players ever made the trek away from their Xbox360's to reallifeland after that.

      Look at their stores now and nearly half of the games in them are 10-year old gun games and a few driving games.. They also got in trouble by upgrading their DDR machines with PS2's instead of dedicated arcade hardware, as a cost saving measure.

      Namco killed their own business (and the Texas-based Tilt chain did as well by making some poor purchasing decisions).. around my area, local companies are starting up new mall arcades that seem to be doing fairly well.

      The real money the past couple years was in machines like Derby Owners Club, which cost $128,000 to buy but will pay for itself within 9 mos in a high-traffic location.. That game single-handedly kept Dave & Busters in business.
  • by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:40PM (#22360658)
    They all closed here years ago. I think Playstation was blamed at the time, though many probably closed earlier and blamed the Genesis.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lobiusmoop ( 305328 )
      Plenty of them around in Tokyo last time I was there (along with the ubiquitous pachinko parlors). I guess if you live in a shoebox sized apartment, you are going to relish all the city entertainment you can get though.
    • You have no idea... (Score:5, Informative)

      by interactive_civilian ( 205158 ) <> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:59PM (#22360876) Homepage Journal
      They really are everywhere in Japan. To the extent that, when I saw the summary say "shuttering between 50 and 60 arcades in Japan" my thought was, "Oh no, how will the other thousands and thousands of them survive?"

      I wish I could come up with a real number of arcades open in Japan, but my google-fu is weak today. However, given my experiences there, 50-60 does not sound like a big number of closings...

    • by The Orange Mage ( 1057436 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @01:52PM (#22361326) Homepage
      Arcades in America closed because almost all but the largest were terribly maintained and many games took more quarters than they were worth. Bad management and little retarded kids breaking in the buttons till they don't work anymore is what killed the Arcade in the U.S..
      • by mikael ( 484 )
        Last time I saw the prices of the arcades in the UK, it was around 1 pound/2$ for every 30 seconds of play. For an afternoon's entertainment, it is obviously cheaper buying a console system
        • That's obscene, I tried a game once which was I think $1 for a minute, and it was a complete waste of money. Most games at the time cost $0.25 per play and you could play until you lost your lives. That game you were paying for fuel, even if something wasn't actually happening.

          Rarely was there a game in an arcade that was worth the cost. I think the 2 best ones I ever saw were the arcade version of Super Mario brothers, and vanguard. I can't recall if I ever saw the really old ones like centipede or space i
          • We do still have 1 or 2 big ones left, but the majority of the arcade machines are in places like the greyhound station or any remaining bowling allies.

            That's true, and although it has been a while since I've passed through Portland (or Seattle). I would assume places like Wunderland are still open? Pay a cover and get unlimited play. I never enjoyed them as some game play would be broken due to the infinite lives. But those count for something. As well as kid joints like Chuck E. Cheese, they still have a selection of games. And family fun centers, those places with the go-karts, batting cages etc? And let's not forget movie theaters, they make a good ch

      • THANK YOU. It's not consoles that killed the arcade, the American arcade *sucked*. In hospitable, uncomfortable and full of screaming children. Not just that, but the hardware was *terrible* and the best games weren't coming out in this country. It's embarassing that a game like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 could even be popular in this country.
    • So set up an arcade with a whole shitload of XBoxes, PS3s and Wiis, with various games in them (locked in cabinets, of course), with some custom heavy duty controllers.
      That way, all the people that have a Wii, but want to play Halo without the cost of owning two consoles, can do it.
      That way, when a game starts getting lower in popularity, you just pop the disk out and pop in a new one.
      That way, when you do a hardware refresh, you can sell all your old stuff on eBay. Sure, you can sell old arcade machines,
    • I so totally agree. I have not been to an arcade in roughly 10 years (okay, I have not spent money in an arcade in roughly 10 years), and I and one or two of my friends seemed to be the only ones there. I wondered into one at the mall the other day, and was shocked to find that Cruisin' World was the newest game there. Places like Dave and Busters still have a mildly successful arcade, but you pay an arm and a leg to play the games. It seems most modern games cost at least $1.50 to play, and that for 2-3 mi
  • Same thing happened in the US when the NES came out. What comes around goes around. Or something.
  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:42PM (#22360684)
    "What are wii going to do?" said the Japanese arcade executive to his robot pet dog.
  • by jpfed ( 1095443 ) <jerry DOT federspiel AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:42PM (#22360686)
    Dance-pads, guitars, and guns have shown that people are willing to buy alternative input devices of many stripes, which had been a niche for arcades.
    • It's not just that. Arcade ports have been coming out for years. The Dreamcast was dubbed the "arcade at home", but what few arcades were still left didn't complain at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jalefkowit ( 101585 )
      Well, there are still some controllers [] you can only find in the arcade... (thank God).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:42PM (#22360690)
    Arcades want to survive? Easy, bring back pinball. A real, physical pinball game, not the emulator kind made by GlobalVR.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZorinLynx ( 31751 )
      I second that.

      I don't know why pinball died. It's so much fun! It's physical and noisy and just *cool*.

      Video games seem to sterile by comparison. An acquaintance collects and maintains old electromechanical pinball tables... Has about 20 of them in perfect operating condition. Tons of fun...

      Bring back pinball, damnit.
      • Arcades that maximized their profit by elevating the playfield angle is part of the reason...3 balls instead of 5 was another. Touchy tilts. Poorly maintained and/or abused machines as well. I usually spent more of my arcade quarters on pinball than video games, but at some arcades it just wasn't worth it to play pinball. When it started to be all the arcades, I stopped playing them. The home machines were taking off as well.
      • They did when the started hiding magnets in the table to help force a lose.
      • []

        I have the PotC:DMC Pinball game. Much fun indeed.
    • by zotz ( 3951 )
      I felt like playing one the other day myself.

      all the best,

    • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) *
      I read this and now I just can't get 'The Who's' song "Pinball Wizard" out of my head! Thanks! []
    • No need to bring them back, we have a nice one here in Las Vegas ^^ []
    • AMEN, once consoles roughly caught up (snes) the real draw for me was pinball which wasn't available enough. the south park pinball game, as well as the super mario world pinball game were amazing but unfortunately exceedingly rare it seemed. the problem is that little kids today just arent as enticed by skeeball and the tickets that go along with it as we were. the only other good thing in arcades is usually the gun games, but they are so over priced its hardly worth it. i dont even bother with the rac
    • by flewp ( 458359 )
      Sadly, I think those of us who appreciate pinball may be in the minority. I'm only 26, so I probably missed pinball's heyday, but for me, pinball was always the funnest game(s) at an arcade. Or even at places that aren't arcades, but have a few arcade machines about (such as the YMCA I used to go to when I was young). Even today, if I see a pinball machine some place random like a bar, I'll stop and play it if I can. That said, I think most of the people who grew up enjoying pinball would be the only re
    • Great, except for one thing: pinball machines are very expensive to maintain due to the large number of mechanical parts in a pinball machine. I've seen one taken apart and they are very close to a Rube Goldberg device in terms of mechanical complexity.
  • Good old days... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eNygma-x ( 1137037 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:51PM (#22360790)
    I was just thinking lastnight how much I missed the old days of arcades. People gathering around "World Heroes" or "SoulEdge" or better yet "Virtua Fighter" to test our skills. I still haven't beaten "S.T.U.N. runner" (I was so close.) And yes I do blame game consoles. Online game play makes things better.... but it still doesn't compare to walking into an arcade and feeling the tension of arcade battles. =)
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @12:59PM (#22360882)
    According to Play Meter magazine [] (the magazine for the arcade/amusement industry), the arcade industry took an even bigger dive in 2007 (from its long decline starting in 1984).

    Family Entertainment Centers (FEC) locations were down 60% year-over-year. OUCH!

    • There's a time and place for these places. Where I live (Blacksburg, VA) there isn't a miniature golf place for probably 50 miles in any direction. I know that it is kind of a niche environment, but come on... someone open a puttputt. Some of us like miniature golf, or have kids who like miniature golf, etc. My 3 year old would enjoy a place like that, or would in a year or so, especially if it had skeeball and whatnot.

      I dunno, I guess I know why the arcade part of them isn't working, but I swear, it'd
  • You do realize you're on the internet right? I know it requires a couple extra clicks, but its not really that hard to find information on how gaming in North America is vastly different from that in places like Korea and Japan. In both countries youth are very much social gamers (and at least in Korea people are just way more social anyway).

    Koreans have the PC Rooms, which shouldn't be in danger of being wiped out as computers have been available in the home for a long time now and if they were going to be
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @01:03PM (#22360914) Homepage Journal
    Computer technology.... just like everyone else is doing....

    From the RIAA to my hemorrhoids from sitting down all day.

    technology in the computer industry is supposed to make things easier, cheaper and overall better.

    So complain about it!

    And while you are at it, complain how there is no more horse manure in the streets for the manure sweeps to earn a living by, because of cars.
  • Wii for the WIIn!!!

    got it ? WIIn !

    i'll go back to my cave now.
  • The obvious solution is to bribe^H^H^H^^H contribute to the campaign of enough politicians to get the Wii outlawed. Call it an "income circumvention device". Man, have Namco learned nothing? Are they that dense? Whenever your industry is threatened by new "consumer" technology, just abuse the law to protect your position in the market. Damn, this should be Business 101 in America; doesn't Japan want to be competitive in the global market?
  • and so do their parents. Arcades work well when the kids can't possibly hope to play video games any other way, so they hand over their money bit-by-bit, every week. But now a games console is not out of the financial reach of the average kid \ parent, and if you can afford to buy a console and play an unlimited amount for no further spending, why wouldn't you? It's the same as the death of hiring televisions, or why more people are paying a mortgage rather than rent. Repeatedly paying to use something but
  • but it won't stop the customer base from shrinking.

    I don't know any dedicated arcades anymore. In this area. they started closing down mid-90s, and the last one I remember, from the 6-7 that used to be around, closed 2 years back. I think Chuck E. Cheese has been down because of similiar woes, but since I haven't been there since many, many years -- don't take that as an informed opinion.

    So that leaves what? The bowling alley, billiard places, theatres, and most other recreational centers usually have so
  • the Wii vs arcade fight, is that the Wii is so flexible. Ever since home computers became affordable, the arcade has lived off the fact that a bunch of large arcade machines just aren't practical to have at home. Well, the Wiimote is your one-stop tennis racket, baseball and bat, bowling ball, golf club, boxing glove, steering wheel, gun, fishing pole, joystick (e.g. rolling ball in SMG) and whatever else I don't remember at the moment. Sure it's nothing like a proper steering wheels with force feedba
  • Social Gaming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ddrichardson ( 869910 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @01:27PM (#22361122) Homepage

    Surprised they didn't mention on-line gaming really, maybe it's my age but I remember people queing up to play Street Fighter II. People still enjoy the challenge of another person, its just that they are doing it at home.

  • A lot of the types of games that people played at an arcade can now be done at home

    So basically, you have yet anothing industry built upon an obsolete business model (scarcity of high-quality video games), and choose to blame the concept that made your product worthless, rather than adapting to provide a better service (cheaper would help - When an hour in the arcade costs me as much as buying a new game, why would I ever pick the former?).

    Don't worry, the buggy-whip manufacturers and the RIAA feel for
  • Arcades can evolve (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @01:38PM (#22361202)
    Arcades can evolve too. The market is there for people who want to rent out movie-theatre sized screens to play multiplayer games. How about an arcade that contains actual consoles where you just bring your memory cards or wiimotes (w/character data on) and just pay a cover charge and for drinks, or for a private room with friends (like billiards) all so you can play with a crowd on a giant screen? I'm sure parents would appreciate the break, and kids can be as loud as they want or game with their friends all night.
    There is a giant rift between arcade games and their console counterparts because we cannot exchange character data between them or game on a console vs an arcade cabinet. If we allow this, then the popularity of the living room will also be interchangable with that of the public gaming outlets, and both can coexist and benefit from each other. Perhaps if you visit the arcades you can get the newest demos first, or the arcades can download them for you and burn them on disc and charge a token fee. Wii demos for full games could be distributed exclusively at arcades. There are many opportunities to increase the popularity of both at the same time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rpillala ( 583965 )

      There used to be one of those in Laurel, MD called Galaxy Computing and they had to close their doors due to lack of customers. They had:

      • Big-screen TVs (two or three?) with consoles parked in front
      • 20 gaming PCs on a LAN
      • Deals with game studios to provide games at a much lower rate, and in some cases prelaunch
      • Advertising campaigns at local schools and whatnot
      • Group rates for things like birthday parties
      • lots of launch events - I saw the Baldur's Gate II launch event it was kind of sad
      • participation in na
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xenocide2 ( 231786 )
      Dave & Busters does the game and alcohol/food thing already, but they really pander to a more general audience than would play Soul Calibar 3 twice. For example, in Kansas City, they built one near the new NASCAR track, and the D&B has ridiculous amounts of redneck games. Turkey shooters, NASCAR racers etc. The problem appears to be that the people who try to cater to redneck fans have terrible ability or attention to quality, making the game's only attraction an initial familiarity.

      As for turning a
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @04:04PM (#22362382)
      Well, back in the BBS days I had about sixteen machines in my basement. I would bring a half dozen of the line servers down for the evening, and we'd play Duke Nukem 3D or Shadow Warrior into the wee hours of the night. It was intense. No online game can quite compare: hearing the guy across the room yell "Son of a bitch!" or "Goddammit!!!" and knowing it was that perfect sniper shot you had lined up ... well. "Satisfying" is an understatement.

      One day I put a small TSR on one of the PCs that would let me send keystrokes to that machine. I would randomly fire the player's weapons for him, and if he happened to be, say, facing a wall at the time he'd blow himself up. This usually resulted in an anguished "What the FUCK!", with hilarity ensuing amongst the remaining players. Sometimes I could blow him up and take out a couple of nearby opponents as well. Eventually they cottoned on to me, and then it was me running for my life for the next couple of hours while they taught me a lesson I'd never forget.
    • Mod parent up.
      There's a big market in Online Games/Clans which didn't exist previously (though these pre-date Wii's) and there's also a market in LAN parties like these guys [].

      But, the whinging arcade owners may have a good observation here which is Nintendo's strategy to target the non-gamer audience with easier controls and cheaper price points may be taking away the passing trade from Arcade gamers (I'm guessing if you're a hard core gamer, you'll spend your yen on a console

  • I've been to a number of video arcades in Japan and they're more like gambling joints. They're more focused on pachinko, slots, artificial horse races, robot arm games, games that require extensive expertise and lot of money. They're focused on a different market than the Wii.
  • VHS destroys Hollywood. Horseless carriage destroys buggywhip biz. Craigslist kills newspaper classifieds. Rise of city-states and domesticated livestock reduces esteem of hunters. And many more...

  • High gas prices... I guess that's one more thing to blame President Bush for.
  • "... Namco Bandai is shuttering between 50 and 60 arcades in Japan and blaming the success of the Wii for the closures... To be fair they also blame the high cost of gasoline as well."

    Boo-fucking-hoo. I say we ban AL change, for the good of all existing businesses! Just because I don't have a guarantee that I'll live to see tomorrow or be able to feed myself if I do, does not mean that arcade operators, music and movie companies, highly-paid sports figures, and business executives shouldn't be guaranteed a
  • Get better games into the arcades.

    If they can play the exact same game at home, then you need to update your arcades to make it more attractive to potential customers. Don't blame the Wii. Blame yourself.
  • Um... If their arcade is losing their audiance to the Wii, they why don't they make more Wii games?

    Namco's a dedicated 3rd party, so what's preventing them from doing that?

  • Arcades were better when the games were all a quarter. Slowly, they started making games that took two quarters, and now we're at a point where some games can cost $2, and there's a damned timer in it. Perhaps the arcades and the game makers have simply become too greedy and want too much profit. Maybe they should bring the cost per minute of game play down some.
    • A quarter a game - a game with three or four LIVES? Sweet deal.

      A dollar or two to start playing, another dollar to KEEP playing, another dollar if you miss that goddamned checkpoint by a fortieth of a second? I don't care of Cruisin' USA has a nice huge sit-down cabinet. I'll play it on the N64 with a hell of a lot less of a monetary burn.

      The cost-per-minute to play modern arcade games has put me off completely. I'll drop a few quarters on Q*Bert at the bar, but beyond that.... I really enjoy my Nintend
  • You can't play Tekken 6, VF5, and whatever game's hot these days on Wii.

    Most games that show up in Japanese arcades are large, obtrusive machines of electronic entertainment. The Wii, as fun and intuative as it is, is a different form of entertainment.
  • If the Japan arcade devolved anything like the arcades here in the states - it would be a blessing to put them out of their misery.

    In the 80's and early 90's arcades were a place you could go drop some quarters into the latest cabinet games or pinball machines. The places were usually lit with neon and dim lights, had very little room to move around, and were packed with games.


    we have brightly lit toddler magnets half full of broken down arcade games from the late 90's, and a slew of ticket spewing ki
    • we have brightly lit toddler magnets half full of broken down arcade games from the late 90's, and a slew of ticket spewing kiddy games a la Chucky Cheese.

      Chucky Cheese was somewhat a good idea. Many of their games were quite limited to boardwalks, theme parks, and carnival fairs, and that aspect of the of the business really hit their target demographic. I still enjoy Skeet Ball. The whole animatronic aspect was well, loud, annoying, and condescending even from a 8 year old's perspective. The prices were outrageous for food, and the quality was poor, but they had more older style analog arcade games which were fun and offered prizes.

      Our local arcade is so dilapidated that they no longer even have a person working there... if a machine eats your coin, you're out of luck. Even the mall management won't take responsibility for the place. Yep, it's run by Namco..

      I'm sorry your arcad

  • Or are we hearing from the RIAA? Similar stories, both irrational.
  • They would fix any game on the spot for you and I want quite a lot as well I toped going when they got rid of the pinball games. Now there is newer place that has broken down games and the people working there don't give a dam. Also there are trying to sell the pinball games at high prices for the condition that they are in.

    There where also 2-3 other good arcades near me as well and the games that where on site where keep working and swapped form time to time They one give 10 free games on TZ and FH that wa
  • No, stop laughing, I'm serious! --well at least stop rolling on the floor. :(

    It could get about three more people playing in the arcades, if Namco really wants that and not just more IP tightening. For one, the Cutie has tits and a weapon, which seems to be the baseline for girl inclusion in a Soul game. (I mean, her nude transformations would fit quite nicely with such wholesome liberally-covered characters as Ivy and Sophitia "I'm sorry!" Alexandra.) Secondly, Namco can spin it to attract the female

  • Japanese arcades are very different from the US. They always keep up with the latest, usually have multiple people working there at any time, and have clean machines and floors. If a button doesn't respond right you can raise your hand and they'll replace it and give you credit.

    The main boost in arcade popularity came with Street Fighter 2. Everyone was playing it, and all the school kids would stop by after school. It also provided an extremely high return rate compared to traditional arcade games where pl
  • I've played on a single arcade game in my life. Credits are simply too expensive.

  • Let's see. Spend 40 bucks for two hours of Arcade time (if you are lucky/skilled), or spend $40 on a console game with unlimited replay.

    Seems like a no brainer to me. If you go to the arcade 3 times a week, you could purchase 12 console games a month. In no time you have more games than the arcade.

    Solution: Gaming Clubs. Full of consoles and specialized arcade games. Monthly fees instead of Yen munching slots. Hybrid LanCade and Arcade + consoles. MAchines are cheaper, wider selection.

  • Japanese Arcades (Score:2, Informative)

    by JKFLBOB ( 1236488 )
    Japanese arcades are WAY different from those in the U.S. Have you ever been to one? Most are divided into two sections, pay-per-play games, and token games.I have yet to see a Japanese Namco arcade made in the last 15 years that wasn't a token-style one.

    So anyways, the pay-per-play ones aren't too much different from those here, but of course, you'll never find one under 100 yen. In fact, most of the games are over "standard size"(The size most people think of an arcade game being-these include DDR, Time C
  • The success of the Wii in Japan isn't necessarily the cause of arcade closures, but an effect of the costs involved in going to an arcade over owning a similarly abled console. The Wii is not alone in this aspect, the Playstation 2/3 and the XBox 360 are also gaining from their lower overall costs vs arcades with products like Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Singstar.

    Unfortunately, this does not bode well for arcades in any light. As it is, asking people to pay 50 cents to over a dollar per game on a regular bas
  • as somebody said, there's a lot of home consoles and the market... and... well in case we forgot, PC's.

    Strange though, that a Japanese company falling on tough times would be forced to blame a Japanese companies creation for their loss.

    I'm sure now that they've said, "Arcades are useless because of NINTENDO Wii!" they're going to devestate nintendo's sales.

    Or more likely, cash a big check from Nintendo for the stupid, obvious publicity stunt.

    Thanks for posting Nintendo spam.
  • Stop complaining and put Point Blank Trilogy on the Wii. Thanks!

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake