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For Taito, Arcades Still 'One Of The Most Important Focuses'

The arcade business is still "one of the most important focuses the company has," Taito's Hiroshi Aoki tells Gamasutra, claiming that innovation can revitalize game
Longstanding classics house Taito has built an enduring business on the strength of its vintage brands alongside new properties like Cooking Mama -- but the traditional arcade business is still "one of the most important focuses the company has," it says. "Arcade operation is one of our core businesses, and in order to keep things fresh for visitors, we're constantly trying to develop new stuff for the arcade market," Taito's Hiroshi Aoki tells Gamasutra, as part of a new Gamasutra feature visiting the venerable studio's past, present and future. It's clear that the traditional arcade business is declining in Japan, creating challenges for companies like Taito who still operate game centers. But the company's far from giving up, Aoki asserts. "I think the only real solution is to keep releasing new and innovative things," he says. "Arcades in Japan have had these cycles of peaks and troughs -- when they're in the midst of a recession, some hit title comes out and their popularity shoots right back up." Indeed the business is "definitely in a valley right now," according to Aoki -- meaning that Taito and its fellows in arcade game development must stay abreast of evolving entertainment taste and adapt to trends. "That means not just Taito, but everyone in the industry needs to work on creating the next big thing," he says. "People's tastes in entertainment change over time, and it's important that all of us change along with those trends." You can now read the full feature at Gamasutra, where 20-year veteran and Space Invaders Extreme designer Aoki offers a fascinating look at the history and state of a veteran organization.

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