The arcade industry may not be dying in Japan -- as it is everywhere else -- but it's certainly changing and the purveyors of the Akihabara Assembly Hall are well aware.
With almost every conceivable device, console and microwave capable of supporting video games, it's no wonder that few are willing to fork over $2 for a single round of Street Fighter or Gran Turismo. In fact, the only demographic keeping the Japanese arcade industry are handheld gamers who -- in lieu of leeching the electricity and Wi-Fi of coffee shops -- flock to "handheld arcades" like the Akihabara Assembly Hall. Although there are no game machines on-site, the portable game cafe offers wifi, food and the company of equally devoted gamers.
The asking price for a trip to the Akihabara Assembly Hall? Approximately $4 per half-hour. It may seem astronomical, but when you factor in the availability of cots and futons, the proposal becomes slightly more modest.