Rob Fahey of GamesIndustry.Biz writes: "One of the things which always strikes games industry types when they visit Japan is the rude health of the arcade business in the country. Although it goes through ups and downs like most businesses, and there are presently concerns of a decline in the sector, it's undeniable that by contrast with their Western counterparts, Japan's arcades are a major success story.
Travelling around Japan in the last couple of weeks, I've been struck again by this contrast. Perhaps the most important aspect is not even the fact that Japanese arcades are plentiful and bustling with customers - it's the fact that they represent the fruits of continual investment and evolution.
They have moved with the times and created whole new categories of game to draw in consumers - while at the same time, western arcades have for the most part declined into a depressing landscape of outdated machines and gambling games, interspersed with occasional recent Japanese imports which simply feel out of place."