LAS VEGAS -- Less than a year after Sega sold its GameWorks chain to a group of U.S. investors, the new owners have announced they will close the flagship GameWorks arcade and restaurant here, possibly as soon as March 11.
Approximately 25 employees will be laid off while another 25 are expected to relocate to a new GameWorks location in Las Vegas, company officials said.
GameWorks opened on Las Vegas Blvd. 15 years ago. Sandwiched between a Coca-Cola museum and a giant themed M&M's store, the Vegas store has long been GameWorks' most prominent location.
Officials at GameWorks Entertainment told local news outlets that the store was a victim of high rent and weak customer traffic. The officials said they are seeking alternative locations in Las Vegas that would appeal more to local customers, rather than focusing entirely on the tourist trade.
"The old arcade concept has really died because of console gaming in the home," said GameWorks marketing director Mark Wiley.
Sega launched GameWorks in 1997 and peaked several years later at 18 stores in the U.S. and overseas. After gradually cutting back to approximately 14 units over the next few years, the company abruptly closed seven U.S. stores before declaring bankruptcy in 2010.
Vending Times reported that arcade chain veteran Steve Dooner and a group of investors acquired the remaining seven stores in the chain. | SEE STORY
Dooner, a strong believer in the concept, had been trying to purchase GameWorks since 2001. At the time of the acquisition, Dooner said he expected GameWorks to begin opening new stores within a year.