The writing has been on the wall for years, but it is finally the end of an era in Japan. SEGA’s arcades have been a mainstay in the Japanese gaming world, becoming recognized landmarks in districts like Akihabara and a symbol of gaming’s home in Japan. Though the venues have closed and opened since the pandemic started, it looks like the end has finally come for the SEGA arcades in Japan.
It isn’t a complete surprise to people who have been following the story for the last few years. In 2020, GENDA, an entertainment company that deals in arcade and prize machines throughout Japan, bought a majority share in SEGA Entertainment, the subsidiary of the gaming giant that owned and operated the iconic arcades. Up until January 2022, GENDA owned around 85.1% of the arcade and amusement company, but following a recently announced deal, they have acquired the final 14.9%, effectively pushing SEGA from the arcade business after more than 50 years.
Don’t expect the venues to change overnight, though. It will take several months before the deal is finalized and the name on the side of the arcades to change. By the end of 2022, there won’t be a towering SEGA logo floating above the streets of Tokyo for the first time since the 1960s. The arcades are expected to stay open for the immediate future.
The new venues will be called GiGO, which stands for “Get into the Gaming Oasis.” It is worth noting that this doesn’t impact the gaming development or publishing side of SEGA, which remains intact. Sonic is, at the time of this writing, still safe. The deal only affects the brick-and-mortar business of SEGA’s gaming centers in Japan.