It has been no secret that arcades all over the world have been engaged in a deep struggle to survive ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began but that has been an even deeper issue in Japan.
Most big names in the Japanese arcade industry have been involved with arcade operations over the past few decades, with companies like Taito and Sega operating their own branded game center chains. Sega in particular had several world-famous arcades set up in areas of Tokyo, making for a go-to tourist destination.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic and the various “State(s) of Emergency” that put arcades in lockdown without any financial recourse from landlords, Sega approached another arcade operations company by the name of GENDA about purchasing their location business, and in November 2020, GENDA became the owner of the Sega-branded chain by purchasing an 85% majority stock in that division of the company.
Looking to “trim the fat” and keep the whole chain afloat, GENDA had to make some tough decisions, which included shuttering not one, but two of its major arcade venues, starting with Akihabara’s SEGA Arcade in August 2020, followed by Tokyo’s SEGA Ikebukuro GiGo in September of last year. These locations were well-loved by locals and tourists alike, who often traveled to the cities just to, among other things, spend some time revisiting arcade history and having fun with arcade games both retro and modern.
While today’s news is not about more locations physically closing, it is something that marks the end of an era, as GENDA announced on the 28th of January, that they had purchased the remaining 15% of shares of this division and that they would change both their corporate name, and the names on the former Sega-branded arcade buildings to GiGO (which stands for: Get into the Gaming Oasis)
It’s important to note that this does not affect the Sega-branded Joypolis theme parks (which include many Sega-made arcade-like attractions), nor does this involve their game development in any way. Games will continue to be developed in Japan and here at PrimeTime Amusements, we’ll keep selling the latest Sega Amusements titles.
The announcement saw Genda chairman Hisashi Kataoka expressing his goals for the future of the newly rebranded company, commenting on his gratitude towards SEGA for providing over half a decade of entertainment and for being an “oasis” for gamers. And as part of this transition, he shared that all SEGA stores and arcades across the country will be rebranding to “GiGo”, though these changes will start mainly with Ikebukuro, Akihabara, and Shinjuku, before spreading countrywide.
全国のSEGAのお店の屋号をGiGOに切り替えていきます。SEGAの56年の歴史への感謝と、リアルなエンタメで人々の渇望を癒すオアシスになるという思いを込めました。ゲームのオアシスに飛び込め！Get into the Gaming Oasis の頭文字をとってGiGOです。
— 片岡 尚 / GENDA会長 (@GENDA_Kataoka) January 28, 2022
Also offering some hope was this tweet shared by Arcade Heroes, where a Japanese amusement news source stated that SEGA is presently developing a new, as yet unspecified, “service” where the SEGA name may return to buildings in the future. This seems to hint that SEGA may take a new approach to operating their own game centers in Japan, but we’ll have to wait for the details.
All in all, despite a new name and the rebranding of all SEGA businesses across Japan, it seems there are new and cool things arriving to the country’s arcade gaming scene. What do you think about these changes?
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.