TOKYO Feb 7 Nintendo Co Ltd's 7974.OS
hot-selling Wii game console may be a major headache for main
rivals like Sony Corp (6758.T), but for operators of game arcades
the pain is proving just as, if not more, intense.
In a shock downward revision to its earnings outlook, toy and
amusement arcade firm Namco Bandai Holdings (7832.T) said it
would close between 50 and 60, or roughly one-fifth of its
arcades, causing its shares to plummet for a second consecutive
session on Thursday.
"A lot of the types of games that people played at an arcade
can now be done at home," company spokesman Yuji Machida said.
The Wii, which has gained worldwide popularity, offers an
innovative motion-sensing controller that can be swung like a bat
or sword. The addition of "Wii Fit", which features a pressure
sensing board that players can use to simulate ski jumps or
surfing, has also propelled sales.
Many Japanese kids got a Wii last year, particularly over the
holiday season, and it seems as if much of their pocket money is
now being saved to buy more hardware or software for the console,
Sky-high oil prices have also done their damage, as Japanese
families, eager to save on gasoline, cut back on trips to big
shopping malls where many of the company's family-oriented
arcades are located, he added.
Namco Bandai is the second arcade operator to announce a
major overhaul. Sega Sammy Holdings (6460.T) also plans to close
around 100 of its arcades.
Namco Bandai, perhaps best known for its virtual pet toy
Tamagotchi, slashed its full-year net profit outlook by 38
percent from an earlier estimate to 16.5 billion yen ($155
Its shares were down by their daily limit again Thursday
afternoon at 1,095 yen, set to put in a 27 percent slide since
Tuesday's close. Sega Sammy shares were down 5.0 percent at 1,102
(Reporting by Edwina Gibbs)