Arcade cabinets have a lot of strikes against them. They take up a lot of space, for starters. And, with a few exceptions like the Neo-Geo multi-slot boards, cabinets only offer one game. So, if you're an arcade owner, the profitability of your machines over the rent you're paying for its square footage can be pretty dicey even before you consider how prevalent home console gaming has become.
Taito has introduced a new digital distribution system for arcades called "NESiCAxLive" at the 48th Amusement Machine Show in Chiba which may help with that. Arcade operators will be able to purchase cabinets and then download games to the cabinets, including a backlog of older titles. Taito has reportedly said that nine arcade game makers are supporting the platform, including SNK Playmore and Cave. The first title released for the system will be BlazBlue Continuum Shift II.
It's about time, really. We'll never see something like this in the US, I don't think, but I do find it comforting to know that at least some things are being done to keep the arcade market relevant.
Taito Announces Arcade Download System [andriasang]