Japan’s video game arcades are reinventing themselves to compete with internet and mobile games.
Whereas in the West arcades have a reputation for out of date, retro games, in Japan arcade, or “game center”, owners have looked for innovative approaches to create unique experiences. Some arcades are even market testing cutting edge virtual reality applications on tech savvy players.
For instance Capcom has created a Godzilla-like VR simulator where players can rampage as Kaiju through Tokyo. With touch controllers attached to their feet and hands, players can tear bridges apart and snatch helicopters from the sky.
Game centers are also looking for other ways to expand their audience and offering. Games that appeal to a broader audience are popular with new gamers including the elderly. In addition cafes are being added to extend the experience and games for families and groups are being developed to create a social experience.
Location-based VR entertainment like Zero Latency’s V Play Reality are set to be a hit in Japan, South Korea and China where many internet cafes, FECs and arcades can retrofit to accommodate the games. (Zero Latency recently announced that they have secured $7 million to roll out their VR game experience to more venues in the US and Japan.) Venture Beat reports that HTC plans to open 10,000 VR arcades in China alone.