TOKYO, Sept. 24 – Once the major industry event, the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) has become increasingly popular with global competitors in recent years. But as the epidemic forces it online, some see an opportunity for innovation.
The exhibition, which opened online yesterday, showcases Japanese video games and is still regularly collected by enthusiastic gamers, attracting more than 250,000 people since 2013.
But as its star industry has faded, many of Japan’s top developers have chosen to launch new offerings elsewhere.
“TGS has been on a downward trend for the last 10 to 15 years,” said Sarkan Toto, an analyst at the Spin Games in Tokyo.
Its share is the result of a decline in the dominance of Japanese gaming companies, he told AFP.
TGS was launched in 1996 and in the early 2000’s it was an indefinite industry program. But it has seen its leader’s position erode faster than the E3, conducted by Gamezcom, in Los Angeles in June, and in Cologne in August.
With the growing importance of the US and European gaming markets, Gamezcom is now attracting more visitors than its competitors and is a popular place to unveil new products.
“The strange thing about TGS is that it seems to be getting bigger every year. “But breaking news and stuff, it’s on the opposite curve,” said Brian Ashcraft, who writes for expert site Kotku and has covered TGS for 15 years.
TGS is increasingly focusing on the domestic market, offering most of its content in Japanese only.
“Over the last two years, it has become increasingly clear that TGS has been looking inward rather than internationally,” Toto said.
“TGS allows visitors to try out games,” said Yasuyuki Yamaji, secretary general of the Lead Association that runs TGS, which has been announced elsewhere.
“People also come for the atmosphere, to watch sports competitions, to cosplay, or to have fun with their families,” he told AFP.
The epidemic makes this all the more impossible, but TGS organizers are hoping that taking the show online will increase their audience in Japan and abroad.
Typically, “70 to 80 percent of visitors come from Tokyo and the surrounding area,” Yamji said.
However, online, “space, distance and time limits disappear”.
This year’s performance runs late into the night in Japan, giving them the opportunity to watch sports fights and sporting events in remote areas.
Many presentations will be offered in Japanese as well as in English and Chinese, and some games will be available for online play, although regional availability restrictions may be challenged.
However, some of this year’s big releases are not being offered on TGS.
Microsoft, which sold only 0.25% of its Xbox One in Japan, will be in TGS but will not introduce its new console.
And Sony, which unveiled its new PlayStation 5 online last week, is leaving TGS altogether this year.
Nintendo, whose games and switch consoles dominated the Japanese market in 2019, is unlikely to be able to compete with TGS.
Managers say this year’s program could lead to lasting change.
“We want to be able to do a hybrid physical event that retains the benefits of a T-Line TGS, such as a distance presentation,” Yamji said.
While attracting a wider international audience will convince industry players that TGS is once again the place to launch new products, it remains to be seen.
But in a very short time, the epidemic is creating an opening for innovations in a format that has changed little in recent years.
Yamaji noted that half of this year’s exhibitors are non-Japanese, making for “more global TGS.”
“I think next year it’s going to be interesting because it’s going to be like, ‘What’s really important’?”
“What can they show digitally? What can they do personally? I think this year will give them a better barometer. ”- AFP-Relaxations