After more than 25 years in the business, an iconic arcade business has now closed its doors. GameWorks, Inc. had maintained six locations throughout the U.S., including Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. The locations served not only as arcades, but also as a destination for eSports events. Fans of The Last of Us Part II might recognize the Seattle location as the basis for a scene from the game. However that location, alongside the other five, are no longer open to visitors. The company made the announcement via its official Twitter account, attributing the closure to the pandemic.
The Tweet from GameWorks announcing the closures can be found embedded below.
Thank you for all the love over these past decades. We hope you remember us fondly and wish you all the best. July 1996- December 2021
— GameWorks, Inc. (@GameWorks) December 24, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the video game industry as a whole over the last two years. From global shortages of semiconductors, to software delays brought on by remote game development, it’s impossible to overstate just how many different facets have been effected. Arcades have also faced issues brought on by the pandemic, first from the initial lockdowns, and now from consumers electing to avoid large crowds. Back in September, Japan’s Sega Ikebukuro Gigo arcade closed, more than 28 years after its initial opening. After decades delighting consumers, it seems that many arcades are struggling to survive.
Of course, it doesn’t help that arcades were struggling long before the pandemic began. Arcades were once a staple of the video game industry, but a lot has changed over the last three decades. Venues like GameWorks were once the only way for players to compete or play alongside friends and strangers, but the internet allows gamers all over the world to do just that. There are still passionate players that prefer to play in person, and tournaments have helped to keep that spirit alive. Unfortunately, the pandemic has similarly led to tournaments like EVO being cancelled. Hopefully, closures like GameWorks won’t become the norm, but the longer that the pandemic continues, the more likely that might be the case.
Did you ever visit GameWorks? Are you disappointed to see it closed? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!