Pachinko Popularity Declining In Japan?

177 pachinko halls closed last year

The Tokyo-based Yano Research Institute reports an apparent decline in the popularity of traditional pachinko gaming in Japan as the population is exposed by modern technology to alternative forms of gaming entertainment.

Research by the Institute showed that only 10,258 pachinko halls remain in operation after 177 pachinko operators closed shop in 2017, continuing a downward trend.

Analysts found that in 1995 around 30 million pachinko players generated the equivalent of US$ 280 billion (Yen 30 trillion) in revenue for pachinko operators, but by 2016 participation numbers had shrunk to just 10 million players who frequented 10,000 parlours and generated revenues of Yen 22 trillion.

Changing player demographics have played a role in the decline; younger generations find their entertainment elsewhere via mobile devices despite efforts to draw them to pachinko by including anime features into games, and the millennial generations see pachinko more as a traditional game played by older generations.