In some sad news, the Sega arcade in Akihabara, Tokyo, has announced that it will be closing down on the 30th of August 2020. After 17 years of fun, the Sega Building 2 has been a centre of arcade games, claw machines, and general entertainment—which is why the closure might come as a shock to many of you.
The Sega Building 2 was first opened by Sega in 2003, with the games centre growing into a huge tourist attraction over the years. As the otaku culture—and games technology—picked up, the Akihabara neighbourhood has grown from a quiet shopping spot to a bustling tourist hotspot. And the Sega Akhibara Building 2 played a big part in that.
However, it appears that like many others, the arcade was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While there hasn’t been any confirmation on the reason for the closure, Sora News reports that a notice of closure has been put up on the building:
“Thank you for your continued patronage. We are sorry to announce that this branch, Sega Akihabara Building 2, will be closing. Our last day of operations will be Sunday, August 30.
The entire staff wishes to express, from the bottom of our hearts, our sincere gratitude at the loving support you have given our establishment for so many years.”
While the closure of the iconic Sega arcade certainly comes as sad news to many, this could only be the beginning with regards to arcade centres around the world. One of the joys of traditional arcade gaming is the connection you felt with other gamers in the centre—friends and strangers alike. However, the continued development of console, PC, and even mobile gaming has resulted in the continued decline of arcades.
In fact, the whole concept of couch co-op has arguably neglected over the last few years or so, although it appears that platforms like the Nintendo Switch are placing renewed focus on offline multiplayer. Plus, if you’re keen to recreate an arcade experience at home, there’s a vast variety of gaming peripherals that you can set up—although they’re usually fairly expensive.