With an ageing population in Japan and two elderly people per one kid, does this news come as a surprise at all? We don’t think so.
What’s your reaction to your grandad attempting to play something like Dance Central 2 on the Wii? Embarassment, shame, amusement? Japan’s massively popular gaming arcades do not just attract teenagers and young adults but an increasing number of retired people. The median age at Yokohama’s Sega Corporation game arcade is not pre-teen but closer to post-retirement!
What is the reason for this social phenomenon? A rapidly ageing nation is certainly a key factor, with the population expected to shrink by 30% by 2060 when seniors will outnumber children 4 to 1. Gaming arcades have already spotted this trend and are actively trying to entice elderly people to their business with treats such as frequent player cards, both for mobiles and the more traditional stamp cards.
It keeps my brain vibrant.” Teruo Kataoka, 70
Most elderly people prefer the traditional analog games, such as the coin slot machines, rather than the shooting games. For them, the arcade is a more exciting alternative to staying home in front of the TV and it keeps their brain active. With an increasingly ageing population, the future of Japanese gaming arcades is certainly an interesting one.
Words: Sophie’s Japan Blog