North American Video Game Crash II
The second source of income for the North American video game industry was the public game centres. However, they also suffered in the period from 1983 to 1985. Firstly, home computers reached more consumers so people who bought a home computer didn’t have to go to a public game centre.
The second reason why the industry declined was due to the quality of money. By this I am referring to both the value of money and the form of money. The value of money declined during the 70s due to inflation and the public game centres operated on Quarters. As each Quarter’s value became less due to the high inflation, the industry turnover declined. Video game centres tried to change to the Eisenhower Dollar coin (diameter of 1.5 inch), but this was a massive coin and an impractical option for coin operated vending machines. So the quality of coins really mattered. The video game industry even went to Washington and lobbied for a new dollar coin.
It seems that lobbying had an effect because the new dollar coin was introduced before the North American video game crash began. In 1979 the Susan B. Anthony Dollar (diameter 1.04 inch) was brought into circulation. The size was similar to the Quarter and was suitable for vending machines. But again the quality of the coin created trouble. This time the machines didn’t have a problem with the coins, but the consumers did. They didn’t like the coin. Ironically the most common complaint was that it was too similar to the Quarter.
The Japanese video game industry profited from the crash. Game arcades in Japan were standardised to use 100 yen coins. This helped the industry in Japan to keep a sustained income. In contrast to the American video game industry, which faced a flood of bankruptcies, the Japanese developed new games systems. In 1985 the Nintendo Entertainment System was introduced into the market and the industry recovered. Nintendo also learned from the poor quality of video games, which was one reason the video game industry suffered in the first place. It invented the “Seal of Quality” to ensure that games offered on its systems met Nintendo’s quality standards. Also, other hardware manufacturers like Sony, Sega and Microsoft learned from past mistakes and developed similar systems to prevent poor quality video games spoiling their name. In the end the user only judges the game and if it doesn’t satisfy them, then the entire system falls short as well.