The arcades won’t vanish. Sega told Famitsu in an interview that customers can still visit, and that it would still develop arcade games. Genda said it aimed to expand the amusement facility business, although it appears Sega’s plans to turn arcades into “fog gaming” data centers didn’t pan out.
It’s still the end of an era, though. Sega’s arcades are iconic parts of the Japanese landscape, to the point where they appear prominently in games like Persona 5. Sega had already closed its legendary Akihabara Building 2 arcade in August, and it won’t be surprising if there’s more consolidation. Unfortunately, the gaming pioneer might not have much choice. Arcades by their definition involve many people touching the same controls and frequently getting close to each other — none of that will be safe until the pandemic is over.