After Over 50 Years, SEGA Officially Withdraws From the Arcade Market!

/ 2 years ago

The arcade business certainly isn’t what it was 30-40 years ago. In fact, many of the once major manufacturers of arcade games have long since abandoned the market due to its overall drop in popularity. One of the few to keep at it, however, was SEGA who, for the last 53 years, had undoubtedly been one of the biggest and most recognisable names still attempting to keep the industry alive.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with people being encouraged to stay indoors and to keep away from other people, the arcade industry went into literal freefall. It was, in fact, so bad that in 2020 SEGA confirmed that it had sold roughly 85% of its arcade business to Genda (one of the few major physical site operators left in Japan). – Following a report via Eurogamer, however, SEGA has now confirmed that it has agreed on the sale of its final 15% effectively bringing its 53-year-old arcade business platform to an end!

SEGA Withdrawn from Arcade Market!

Arcades were, of course, exceptionally popular in the West back at a time when the home gaming experience was nowhere near as graphically comparable. There was, after all, a pretty big difference playing Outrun on a full-blown cabinet and then going home to try it on your Atari ST. With home systems hitting par and then often exceeding their much larger quarter gobbling counterparts, however, they slowly began to evaporate from bowling alleys and cinema lobbies.

In Japan, however, the arcade industry had, generally speaking, maintained a much higher and consistent level of popularity even up until 2018. With COVID-19 seeing many sites getting shut down (temporarily or permanent), however, it would appear that SEGA is no longer capable of sustaining a business platform that simply isn’t generating as much money as it once did.

What Happens Next?

Although the withdrawal doesn’t necessarily rule them out of still developing new titles for arcade systems, the chances of this happening do appear exceptionally low. Especially since they no longer own any of their own physical arcade locations which will mean that their ROI (return on investment) will be vastly lower than it once was.

So, while you might still find an Outrun, House of the Dead, Daytona, or SEGA Rally dotted around a few seaside locations, don’t expect to see anything new from SEGA ever again. A fact which, I think we can all agree, is more than a little bit sad.

What do you think? What was your personal favourite SEGA arcade game? – Let us know in the comments!

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