Havens abound for mobile video-gamers

September 3rd, 2009 by Felicity Hughes

COURTESY OF ARMOR PROJECT/BIRD STUDIO/LEVEL-5/ SQUARE ENIX

A scene from Dragon Quest IX (Armort Project/Bird Studio/Level-5/Square Enix)

Nintendo’s DS sales got a boost in July with the release of Dragon Quest IX, with sales of the handheld device more than doubling the week of the release. If you’re not yet convinced that you want to buy the game but have a DS, a trial version is available to play for free at selected McDonald’s stores.

Though the restaurant chain already provides free access for gamers who want to play online while munching on a burger, Portable Game Cafe, which  opened a new branch in Ikebukuro in July, in addition to their existing Akihabara store, might have a slight edge on McD’s:  It’s not free, but for only ¥300 for 30 minutes you enjoy, comfy sofas (napping is allowed), access to comic books and, of course, wireless Internet access. There are unlimited soft drinks available, but if you want to work up more than a sugar buzz, customers are allowed to bring their own booze.

Similar deals can be found at a number of new portable game cafes that have begun to spring up, like at Game Space Kawasaki.

PSP players will want to go to the portable game cafes because McDonald’s doesn’t provide access for users of this handheld. Moreover, if you want real face-time with the gamers you’re playing, be they friends or strangers, the cafes are the place to be.

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