How The Japanese Government Might Kill Arcades

Internationally famous Japanese arcades like Mikado (pictured) hopefully will be ok. Lesser known ones might not. (Photo: Brian Ashcraft, Kotaku)

On October 1, 2019 consumption tax in Japan will increase from 8 per cent to ten. According to Jiji, the tax will not apply to food and drinks served in restaurants. It will be applied to arcade games.

For decades, arcades have been built around a single coin experience, either the 50 yen coin or the 100 yen one.

Because that is so entrenched into Japanese arcade gaming, owners have a difficult time asking players to shell out 108 yen per play as well as increasing it to 110 yen per play starting next year.

“This industry might vanish,” a 47-year-old arcade owner in Yokohama told Sankei Business. “We cannot raise the price of a 100 yen game to 110 yen. The only choice is for the arcade to absorb the tax increase.”

That cuts into an already shrinking bottom line.

Japan’s arcade industry has been facing challenges in the past decade. In 2006, there were 24,000 arcades in Japan. By 2016, however, that number had decreased by nearly half to 14,000.

However, the number of arcades that accept digital money has increased, which could help ease the tax burden. Mum-and-pop arcades might not have the capital to invest in digital money readers.

Another unnamed man who ran an arcade in Kawasaki that was closed this summer told the Sankei, “It’s good not envisioning how things will turn out. Seeing one’s fate is a heart-breaking thing.”


Comments

    Galaxy Brain: raise the price to 200 yen?

      "Single coin experience".

      Raising the price to 200 yen isn't any different to raising it to 110 yen. You still need 2 coins.

      That's also ignoring the fact that they would certainly lose business if the prices of their games all suddenly doubled.

        Lots of Japanese arcade games are 200y or more already though. Having to have 10y (or 8y) is much more of a problem because the change machines break bills down into 100y coins.

        There’s this thing where an arcade operator can give you more credits for more money - that’s the main way to get around it

        When i used to manage an arcade we’d do things like $1 for 1 Credit or $2 for 3 credits. That’s how you can pump up the price and keep value to the client and not lose business.

        “But then with 3 credits the client would stay on the machines longer”

        Ah, but then that’s what difficulty and timer adjustments are for.

        Again, back when I was managing an arcade the players were so good at stuff like X-Men VS SF that instead of bumping the difficulty up, we’d actually make the game super easy and run on turbo mode. Why? Coz they could finish it easily on the hardest difficulty, so by putting it on easy they could still finish, but quicker, so we could get them off the machines quicker

        As an arcade operator, there are so many coin and machine adjustments available to maximise profits with customer satisfaction. Check MAME out for more references

          While I'm aware of all of this, I get the impression the arcade scene in Japan is vastly different to what we used to have in the west. The fact that there is actually still an arcade scene over there while it more or less died everywhere else many years ago is evidence enough.

    More and more games are getting digital wallets for people, I don't see it as too much of a problem if there were generic cards to cover lots of arcade machines.

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