The famous Sega Building 2 Arcade located in Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan, is shutting down.
News of the arcade closing stems from a posted notice on the door of Sega Building 2. The notice, when translated, stated the following:
“Notice of closure
Thank you for your continued patronage. We are sorry to announce that this branch, Sega Akihabara Building 2, will be closing.
Our last day of operations will be Sunday, August 30.
The entire staff wishes to express, from the bottom of our hearts, our sincere gratitude at the loving support you have given our establishment for so many years.”
The Arcade, which opened in 2003 under the name Akihabara Kigo, was a popular hotspot in Akihabara, which is known today as being the center of modern Japanese pop culture. Akihabara is well known for being the center of otaku culture, and is a prominent hotspot for enthusiasts of anime, manga, electronics and of course video games, along with numerous arcades and specialty locations such as maid cafés.
The Sega Build 2 in particular was famous partially due to its size and location. The building is found on the street corner directly across the Manseibashi Bridge, which allowed a side of the building to always have an unobstructed view. This became an incredibly famous site in Akihabara for massive advertising murals by Sega, including official anime tie-ins and upcoming game releases. Many game developers have also used Sega Building 2 as part of their visual representation for Akihabara.
The Arcade itself is one of the top arcades in the world, but has been hit hard by a long decline in arcade popularity in Japan. Much like the United States, Arcades in Japan have been steadily closing, which is mostly attributed to the rise of online gaming and home console sales. Examples include world-famous arcade, Warehouse Kawasaki, which shut down in 2019 due to supposed financial disputes. The longer-lasting impact of COVID-19 across the world is also a possible factor that hurt Sega Building 2, which even temporarily closed due to the virus and only re-opened again on June 12th.
Sega has not commented on the closure of the site at this time.
Whatever the reasons for the closure, the loss of Sega Building 2 is the loss of a major icon for not only arcade enthusiasts, but for Akihabara itself. Sega does have other arcades in Akihabara that it operates, but none will likely be as iconic in the end.