Namco Arcades in Dire Straits

Company may seek protection under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy statutes.

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Namco Cybertainment, the arm of Namco Hometek Inc. that operates over 370 mall-based arcades in the US (and over 170 revenue-sharing locations), may seek protection under Federal Bankruptcy statutes, the group's president, Kevin Hayes, confirmed to GameSpot News this week.

Citing "declining mall traffic" at its arcade locations, Hayes confirmed reports currently circulating in the industry that during recent lease negotiations, Namco Cybertainment has repeatedly informed mall owners that if terms favorable to Namco are not offered, the company would seek federal bankruptcy protection.

"We're out there telling landlords times have been better in arcades," Hayes told GameSpot News.

Should the company in fact seek reorganization protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy statutes, it would put Namco Cybertainment in a more favorable position to seek reduced or same-cost lease agreements with mall owners - and would also allow the company to shed itself of current lease obligations far more easily (and cheaply) than otherwise.

GameSpot News will keep your alerted to future developments.

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