Arcade game centers may have all but disappeared in the west, but they are still popular in Japan and it looks as though Sega has found a new use for all the arcade cabinets they contain.
As Ars Technica reports, Japanese game centers are only open for so many business hours every day. The rest of the time, thousands of arcade cabinets and the hardware they contain sit idle. It seems, someone at Sega thought of a way to make use of all that performance by utilizing the cabinets to help power a cloud gaming service. It’s being referred to as “fog gaming,” which may end up being the name of the service.
What’s unclear right now is how advanced of an idea it is in terms of launching an actual service for Japanese gamers to enjoy at home, and also what games would be offered. Is it going to be limited to the arcade games already offered in game centers, or be a more general cloud gaming experience offering many more titles?
Sega’s arcade cabinets have been connected to the internet for years thanks to the company’s All.Net platform. It’s used for online competitions, as well as to distribute the latest high scores for a game or allow a player to take their profile with them to different arcades. With that in mind, the cabinets are already setup to act as cloud gaming nodes assuming the connections are fast enough.
The choice of cloud gaming services is growing, with GeForce Now, PlayStation Now, Google Stadia, and Project xCloud being the most prominent at the moment. Sega could soon join that line-up, but only in Japan where playing games in arcades is still a thing. If it works, it could also give game centers a new revenue stream and allow them to survive for longer.