Another summer, another closure announcement for a landmark Tokyo arcade.

Japan is a country with a deeply developed sensitivity to the seasons. Summer, for example, is marked by the joys of the sounds of cicadas, fireworks coloring the night sky, and the refreshing chill of a bowl of shaved ice.

Unfortunately, it seems that in recent years Japan has acquired a new, and much less happy, sign of summer: the announcement that a landmark video game arcade is closing. This time, it’s GiGO Akihabara Building 4 that’s closing down, but veteran game fans may be more likely to recognize it by its old name, Sega Akihabara Building 4, which it was called prior to Sega getting out of the arcade management business and the associated facilities being rebranded under new owner Genda GiGO Entertainment.

▼ Google Streetview still shows the arcade as it appeared when Sega was running it.

The closing of GiGO Akihabara Building 4 is a big blow to Akihabara’s video game scene, as the arcade is located directly across the street from JR Akihabara Station’s Denkigai (“Electric Town”) exit, a distance so short that the building says it’s a “zero-minute walk” from the ticket gate.

This marks the third August in a row for a high-profile Sega-founded arcade to close. In August of 2020, word came that Sega Akihabara Building 2 was shutting down, and the same thing happened for Sega Ikebukuro GiGO in August of 2021. It’s especially sad since GiGO Akihabara Building 4 contains not only an arcade, but also a cafe for rotating collaborative events with popular game franchises.

▼ Earlier this summer, for example, the cafe hosted a crossover with the Persona franchise.

Fans aren’t happy about the news, though, and neither is GiGO Akihabara Building 4 itself, which tweeted “GiGO Akihabara Building 4 is closing! No! We don’t want to close!” along with an angrily crying face.

Online reactions from individual Twitter users have included:

“No! Don’t close it down!”
“No way! This was the arcade where I played [rhythm game] Ongeki for the first time. It’s sacred ground to me.”
“I just went there for the first time in a long time yesterday.”
First Tora no Ana says it’s closing, and now this.”
“We live in a cruel era.”
“Well, they’ve got a couple of arcades in Akihabara, so I guess it can’t be helped.”

As alluded to in the last comment, there are currently four GiGO arcades in Akihabara: Buildings 1, 3, 4, and 5. But while Building 3 also has a cafe, Building 4 is the only one with a cafe takeout stand that lets fans purchase special food and drink items to-go, so once Building 4 is shut down, that’ll no longer be an option.

Genda GiGO Entertainment pulling the plug on Building 4 may come as a surprise, seeing as how just last month the company reported profits of 3.175 billion yen (approximately US$23.7 million). However, as we examined here, those profits were largely thanks to an adjustment in the value of the assets Genda GiGO acquired from Sega and the resulting recalculated depreciation expenses, and not a significant rise in the number of people coming into its arcades and putting coins in their machines. With no major cash flow increase and Genda GiGO’s lease for Building 4 ending soon, it’s likely the company decided it’s not worth renewing, since rent can’t be cheap for property so close to the station.

GiGO Akihabara Building 4’s last day in operation will be Sunday, September 25, on which it’ll close at 8 p.m. The company says it’ll be planning some sort of farewell celebration, perhaps similar to what it did for Sega Ikebukuro GiGO, with further announcements to come through the arcade’s official Twitter account.

Arcade information
GiGO Akihabara Building 4 / GiGO 秋葉原4号館
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 1-15-9
Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Source: PR Times via Hachima Kiko
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: Genda GiGO
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