From GeForce to Stadia to xCloud, cloud gaming promises a lot for the future of the way we game, an efficient experience without the need for expensive hardware, timely installations or complex upgrades. However, cloud gaming is still shackled by a number of unresolved problems to date, such as internet connection problems in several countries and unsatisfactory technology.
Reporting from Videogamer, Fog Gaming, Sega’s new cloud gaming service for arcades, aims to reduce lags in gameplay and other services. Fog Gaming, a new cloud gaming service founded by Sega, may be able to get past this with revolutionary research and development with arcade systems.
Sega apparently owns or is affiliated with some 200 arcades in Japan, and a total of over 4,000 arcades in the country. However, the process of getting Fog Gaming won’t be as easy as renovating an arcade machine. These old machines will require development of a next-generation arcade system, which will be prototyped and completed sometime next year.
Regardless of the time it takes to get this service, Sega wants to offer Fog gaming technology to a new industry, not just gaming. This will see arcades have new benefits. not only as a vehicle for fast cloud gaming for Sega and other gaming companies, but as a data center for other purposes, such as virtual machines for business and agriculture. The problem is that this technology is only fiscally feasible in countries with lots of arcades like Japan.
Therefore, this is a really great thing. Especially since arcade games are still one of the strongest industries in Japan. Perhaps this will also add to the rumors of the relationship between Microsoft and Sega that have recently spread, where it is possible that they are both developing this project.
The Arcade Struggles to Survive During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan
Japan is one of the last bastions of a productive arcade culture, where people go to arcades to play arcade games but this may not last long. Especially since the COVID-19 coronavirus and orders to avoid crowded places and stay home have hit Japanese arcades and game shops.
Famitsu published a series of interviews from April 3-10 2020 with renowned arcade managers Mikado and retro game shop BEB Akihabara, detailing how dire the situation was. They chose certain points about the impact of COVID-19.
The certain points that are important are as follows:
Due to the emergency announcement in Japan, all non-essential shops have been ordered to close, including Mikado and other arcades. While the government advised caution from late February, earnings were basically the same in March. However, due to the possibility of a state of emergency announcement on March 25, 2020, revenues fell by 60% and 30% respectively at two locations in Takadanobaba and Ikebukuro.
Since arcades operate at marginal profit as is and costs such as human resources, equipment, and building costs accrued, business becomes very difficult. Because of this, Mikado has used crowdfunding as a kind of “investment for the future” to stay alive during these times. As per the government’s orders, Mikado will remain closed until May 6, 2020 if things improve, and if it re-opens, the owner wants to hold as many events as possible to make revenue increase.
- Akihabara @ BEEP
While not an arcade, BEEP specializes in retro gaming stuff, old computers, and media. The biggest way BEEP is doing is drastic reduction in foreign tourists, who are about 50% of their regular customers. Akihabara in general has also been hit hard, and the bustling subculture town has lost many visitors. That said, BEEP continues to buy old things from people who are willing to sell them, and the number of people has remained stable. It also continues to take orders.
While the game shop is not part of the emergency order state, BEEP is closed until April 16, 2020 due to caution, although things are subject to change. The manager criticized the Japanese government’s order for being vague and direct enough.
Although BEEP is slightly better because it has different divisions, things are still difficult. The manager asks people to help in any way they can, because games are a part of Japanese culture they should be proud of, to the point where even foreigners come to Japan to buy them.
Therefore, this is a big problem for the gaming industry, especially arcade games, of course, have experienced a slight setback in the era of console games and mobile games. If this continues, there will likely be a very big impact on the arcade industry, the hope is that this pandemic will end soon and be back as it used to be.