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The End of the AC Era? – Part 2

In the previous part of the Special Blog Post Report by Inori-D Station, we have talked about on why these popular arcade gaming centers in Japan are closing down one-by-one. First is that these are slowly closing down because the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up the process of these ‘old’ establishments to shut down, as well as speeding up the decrease of arcade gaming centers nationwide in Japan. Second, they close down because either their net income are becoming thinner as the time goes by, or their contract with the landmark that they are renting has already expired. And finally, what is the third reason why these big-time arcade gaming center businesses are closing down one-by-one by means of a new trend?

We are now going to talk them here right away in the second and the last part of the Inori-D Station Special Blog Post Report!

The Rise of the ‘Home Port’ Gaming Consoles

We all know that arcade cabinets are one of the most legendary gaming machines ever existed in the industry of video gaming. There are many memorable moments in which you can remember, aside from inserting the token coins inside the arcade cabinet machine, and you can see the big “GAME START” words on the screen. There are other things that you can do, and that is you can beat someone’s top score or record in the rankings. And you always come back and forth to see who’s the best!

But then, going back to the sub-topic, the rise of these new home port gaming consoles has begun to take over the video gaming trend. Not only you can go outside of your home going to the arcade gaming centers to play, but you can play that legendary arcade cabinet game in your own video gaming consoles.

Time Crisis II Arcade Cabinet Machine. It was found during my mall strolling in my own area.
PS2 version of the original Time Crisis II AC game. It is believed to have more features than its original AC counterpart.

With many video gaming companies has finally adapted into this new trend, they had thought up of a strategy. And that is, they shall be ‘integrating’ those arcade cabinet games into a video gaming console port version. What does that mean? That means, that certain arcade cabinet video game is then ‘recreated’ as a video game for the video gaming consoles for home or indoor use.

Some of the popular video gaming companies, notably Bandai Namco Entertainment, Taito Corporation, SEGA, and even Konami Digital Entertainment, are beginning to integrate and rebuild these games into home video gaming console versions.

Next-Gen Arcade Cabinets

Though that there are some video gaming companies that are able to recreate these arcade cabinet video games into home console video games, there are other video gaming companies that still don’t want to leave the old, traditional, near-dying arcade cabinet video games.

The video gaming companies has made an idea of saving a player’s current game data by means of using a ‘save function’. In some older arcade cabinet machines, when you get a GAME OVER, that means you go back to zero and start things again. But in these new generation arcade cabinets, you can still continue playing by means of loading your ‘save data’ into the machine.

What are some examples? Yeah, and I know it’s still an arcade cabinet machine. But then, it has added more features, like save function and etchetera. And there are other arcade cabinets that uses network or Internet connection in order to play or even save your progress through the use of special cards, or what we call the passes or ICs (identification cards).

And there are some other arcade cabinets that uses special functions, like dressing up your character or machine, based on the current cards that you have (Usually by purchasing them separately).

Some of these next-gen arcade cabinets are lasting up longer than it should. But when the pandemic has arrived, they are likely to go ‘extinct’ very early. But then, they had already planned from the beginning that if things got worsened up, their best option is to recreate that AC into a home-ported console video game.

The Rise of Smartphone Video Games and the Fall of ACs

Not only these arcade gaming centers are shutting down one-by-one because the pandemic has struck them down. But also, one of the reasons, aside that the rise of the home console video games has decreased the number of arcade gaming centers existed in Japan nationwide, is that the rise of these new, smartphone free-to-play video games are also becoming a trend in the video gaming world.

These free-to-play smartphone video games can be addicting. Though it is free-to-play, you are indeed opted to buy something that can speed up, or likewise make your account or characters more powerful.

The LLSIF game uses a type of Gacha System (Scouting) called the Box (Gacha) Scouting. The box contains at least 100 members (cards), and it requires you to have at least certain amount of Love Gems and Tickets in order to guarantee at least one UR from that Box Gacha.

Also, most of these free-to-play smartphone games are using the Gacha System, wherein the player can get some random items or characters. A player can have a chance in drawing a powerful rarity (commonly named as ultra-rare or UR) from a Gacha, and that is considered to be his or her weapon or character of choice in order to stand out against his or her rivals, or even their enemies.

Some Gacha Games today are believed to originate from these type of machines that requires your luck and accuracy in order to win your prize.

Somehow, this Gacha System is present in most of the free-to-play smartphone video games today. And that system, I believe, is based from some claw and crane prize machines which requires your accuracy and luck in order to win your prize. Or notably, it requires you to use your real money and draw a random item from the machine.

Arcade Cabinets are Becoming Extinct Soon. Any Other Choice?

So basically, we are in the era where arcade cabinet video games are no longer a trend. But instead, it is being kept alive by means of re-releasing them as ‘legacy collections’ or by even remastering them as classics.

For the older or veteran video gamers, this is something like legendary treasures for them. Instead of putting these away from existence, they are somehow putting them into display. They display it by means of exhibiting them into an expo, convention, or even in a museum.

But then, the pandemic has finally made a contribution in speeding up the process of shutting down these older arcade gaming centers in Japan. The people must understand the concept of trend, wherein things must come and go in a timely manner.

We just remember that if a certain trend is already dying, that means it says that it is time for them to say goodbye, and they need to move on from the past.

And this ends my last part of the IDS Special Blog Post Report! Thank you for reading!

Inori Donz

Inori Donz is a blogger, video gamer, Anime enthusiast, bicycle rider, and Anime figure photographer. His favorite area of concentration is 'LoveLive! Series', where he plays its featured smartphone video games, as well as watching its Anime series counterparts. "I like Anime, toys and figures, and mostly, I like playing free-to-play video games. Definitely not your usual commoner you see everyday in the streets." He started his blogging journey since December 2013, with a free WordPress blog, named 'IemDonz Blog'. That free blog contains most of his Anime figure photography works, as well as some of his opinions and experiences in the Anime world.