As of this morning, Sega has completely withdrawn from the arcade business. As of the recent reports, after nearly 50 years in the arcade business and what gave the company its start, Sega has sold its remaining shares to Genda. Genda is the same company that Sega initially sold is the majority of shares back in December 2020. Genda, now being the sold owner of Sega’s arcade business, had announced that the arcades will operate under the GiGo (Get into the Gaming Oasis) brand. (Tojodojo)
Prior to this announcement, Sega Sammy sold 85.1% of its shares to Genda. Meaning that Sega Sammy had pretty much sold off its arcade unit and was no longer the majority shareholder. This move was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the globe for the past two years. As such, over 200 gaming centers and arcades once owned and controlled by Sega in Japan, were now the property of Genda.
The blame doesn’t solely sit on the Coronavirus, as the console market had also decimated the arcades. The once-great gaming centers have been less populated thanks to the rise of more powerful gaming consoles and gaming networking services. The only thing that kept arcades going was the fighting game scene and the more unique arcade games such as racing games. However, that bit we can blame on COVID-19, which has forced many arcades to close or has seen fewer customers due to strict laws.
It’s a shame, really. I had always dreamed of visiting Japan and checking out all of its arcades. Over here in the states, most arcades are dead or shells of their former selves. Many have been transitioned to family centers, with redemption machines replacing traditional arcade units. Others haven’t seen a single new title in years, while the more popular ones aren’t just worth it anymore.
It’s the end of an era, that’s for sure. As for Genda and GiGo, only time will tell what will happen to the once owned Sega arcades. Will they return to greatness, or will they eventually be transitioned into something else? Either way, things just won’t be the same.