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Sega departs the arcade game business after half a century of leading the way

The end of a gaming era as the Sega brand is consigned to the scrap heap after 56 years. Crazy.

Updated: Jan 28, 2022 2:01 pm
segaarcade

We have had the end of gaming eras before but as an old-school gamer and self-confessed Sega fanboy of yesterday, this is sad news. Sega, the legendary name behind so many classic arcade games over the decades such as Space Harrier and Virtua Racing has departed the arcade business, at least in Japan for now.

Sega has sold its shares in its arcade operations to Genda in a deal that will see every Sega arcade in Japan branded as GiGO – Get into the Gaming Oasis – potentially some horrific Ready Player One metaverse play.

The move has been on the cards for some time – Sega had already handed off some 85% of shares to Genda, but now the rest are going the same way and the historic Sega name will be no more.

Genda Chairman, Takashi Kataoka tweeted: “We thank Sega for its 56-year history and hope that it will be an oasis that will satisfy people’s thirst with realistic entertainment.”

spaceharrier
An original 1985 Space Harrier cabinet in situ in an arcade

At least a degree of this is, as ever, down to the effect of Covid-19 with Sega’s profits hot massively by the series of lockdowns over the past couple of years. Enclosed areas with people coughing and touching everything were always going to struggle to remain popular during the pandemic, even when they were allowed to remain open.

Insert Coin to play again

That’s not the end of Sega obviously and they still remain strong on home systems and seem to have a good thing going with Microsoft currently, but it is a sad, silent slipping away of a massive part of our industry’s heritage and history. Arcades as we know them continue to struggle and the establishments where so many first discovered their love of video gaming seem destined to be consigned to the past.

It seems strange that Genda has decided to dispense with the Sega brand considering it is so synonymous with what they are trying to attract people into. The opportunity to continue to use the Sega names would have been considered by many as a reason alone to scoop up the shares in the first place. But what do we know?

Rest in peace Sega arcades.

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