The future of the arcade

There was also a number of new brawlers from smaller Japanese studios shown towards getting a port onto PS3, XB360 and even Wii

The importance of consumer feeding off of popular amusement titles can be seen in the efforts that Sega and Namco are placing into their respective 'Tekken 6' and new 'Virtua Fighter' fighting title launches.

From the members of our amusement industry, and correspondents to our e-news service that walked the hotel and show floors, the feeling was that Nintendo paid the most, but Microsoft won the momentum battle to dominate E3 2008 – but it was the poor state of the once influential exhibition that received the most commentary.

I was personally also surprised by how we in amusement are once again ahead in the graphic quality battle with consumer. The Next-Gen consoles have still to make their mark with their promised graphic performance, while the PC GCi states has allowed amusement to make headway.

One example is the differences in the actual PS3 performance of Tekken 6, against the dedicated amusement hardware version. With the possibility of no new console hardware till at least 2013 the opportunity for amusement to push the envelope with performance is obvious.

TechRadar: Don't arcades still have the stigma attached to them of being places of 'ill repute'?

Kevin Williams: I agree that some media can not shake that perception of dark, smoke filled arcades. This outdated misconception is tinged with a little bit of disdain about the closed-shop nature of video amusement – and how hard it is to get information on this market.

I know a number of writers in the console sector who were shocked by the explosion in fan interest in 'Street Fighter IV's' appearance, and that attempts to write the arcade scene off as dead fell flat in the avalanche of player interest to play this coin-op (as well as with 'Tekken 6').

The reality is that the dedicated 'arcade' game site is long gone, replaced by players playing amusement in bowling centers, cinemas, inland and seaside family entertainment sites and theme parks (this does not touch the vast playing audience of arcade sports games for tournament prizes in local pubs and bars across the country).

The strength of amusement to still stir the player's blood is a factor in all the ports of amusement titles we see across all the consoles, mobile phone and online game sites. And, of course, some players are taking their love affair one step further by building home arcade cabinets of their own.

As you may be aware, the slowdown in players wanting to play 30-hour game experiences in consoles is seeing a move towards 'casual gaming'.

Amusement, the originator of this genre, is also seeing a return in interest in the Pay-to-Play model, and current economical issues, linked to social networking that amusement excels at, could see the revenue opportunities for coin-op reinvigorate interest in a wider deployment of Out-of-Home entertainment.

Adam Hartley