Game firms swoop down on Tokyo to show waresNow in its 10th year, the Tokyo Game Show begins on Friday at the Makuhari Messe exhibition hall in Chiba, on the outskirts of Tokyo.
The three-day event will be the largest in the show’s history and will feature over 130 exhibits from around the world. The show’s organizers attributed much of the increase to the spread of massive multiplayer online games.
In comparison, E3, the world’s biggest gaming industry exposition, said that it plans to reduce its scale. E3 is held earlier in the year, in Los Angeles.
The spotlight is now fixed on Sony Computer Entertainment’s upcoming console, PlayStation3, the release of which has been postponed several times. Sony, which has secured the largest booth at the event, says it will have about 27 PS3 game titles available at the show, including Devil May Cry 4 and Final Fantasy 13.
Next in line with its own console is Microsoft Corp., touting its Xbox 360. The games for the Xbox 360 to be unveiled at the show include Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom, an action role-playing game.
Doubling their presence from last year, mobile phone service providers such as NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Vodafone will also be lording over a huge part of the pavilion. While NTT DoCoMo is a “special sponsor” that understandably has been given a large booth, the presence of the three major mobile carriers shows how much the mobile content industry has grown.
Only a few Korean companies are participating, through their Japanese affiliates. Two examples are Neowiz Japan and NHN Japan.
Despite the attention it is receiving for its Wii console, the Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. will not be attending the event. “Nintendo has never attended [the show] and this year will be no exception,” a Nintendo spokesman in Seoul said.
Wii will still be in the air, however, as companies developing software for the console, such as Konami and Square Enix, will be displaying some games intended for the console, though visitors won’t be able to try them out.
A journalist for a monthly computer game magazine who has been writing about games for the past five years said that he was disappointed in the Tokyo Game Show and did not plan to attend this year. “Before, the [show] was significant because the E3 was where makers unveiled their products for the industry whereas the Tokyo Game Show was more consumer-oriented, getting ready for reviews just before the Christmas season,” he said. “Now, it seems like an event for Microsoft and Sony.”
For game players daunted by next-generation consoles, Japan’s TV Game Museum will also exhibit “relics” such as super phones, and earlier (playable) versions of Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog.
by Wohn Dong-hee