The exhibition, which is one of the major annual events in this field, was launched by default on Wednesday and continues until Sunday, due to the Corona pandemic, similar to many other global forums.
The Tokyo Video Games Fair achieved remarkable popular success in its previous editions, as it attracted more than 250,000 visitors in recent years in the four days during which it is held.
Serkan Tutu, an analyst at Kantan Games in Tokyo, believes that this exhibition “has been going in a downward direction for 10 to 15 years,” due to the decline in the dominance of Japanese games in the world during this period.
This event was launched in 1996 and has established itself as a major global gathering in the field since the turn of this century, but it faces fierce competition with other similar events.
In light of the lack of attractiveness of foreign visitors, the Tokyo Expo in recent years has focused its efforts on the Japanese market.
“It is more and more evident that the Tokyo Game Show is focusing its attention on the domestic market, not the global one,” Tutu added.
He explained that the language barrier was a “problem” at the Tokyo Video Games Fair, as almost all the information in this event was issued in Japanese.
The Tokyo exhibition faces fierce competition from other international exhibitions, including the Los Angeles exhibition, which was canceled this year, and the “Gamescom” exhibition in Cologne, western Germany, which was held hypothetically weeks ago.
The German exhibition attracts the largest number of visitors, and video game developers prefer to reveal their latest products to the public.
“It seems to me that the number of visitors and advertisements is declining steadily every year” during the Tokyo exhibition, said Brian Ashcraft, a journalist for “Kotaku” website specialized in Japan, who has been covering the event for more than 15 years.
Ashcraft added that next year’s edition, 2021, will be “interesting” because the organizers will be well aware of “what can be put up online and what can be done in the non-virtual version” … so this year’s edition will be a good indicator in this regard.
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For his part, Yasuyuki Yamagi, Secretary-General of SESA, which runs the Tokyo Video Games Fair, told AFP that this event, which takes place before the end-of-year holidays, during which video games generally achieve the highest percentage of their sales, “allows visitors to experience Games advertised in other fairs.
He added that “people come here because of the prevailing fun atmosphere and to watch e-sports competitions” or “to spend fun times with the family.”
Yamagi explained that the exhibition, which has been prohibited by the Covid-19 pandemic, this atmosphere based on rapprochement between visitors, hopes to benefit from moving to a virtual version to attract a wider audience, as “70% to 80% of visitors usually come from Tokyo and its suburbs.”
Yamagi also notes that more than half of the exhibitors will be foreigners this year, indicating that the current edition will be “more international.”
The exhibition has set broadcast hours for live events until late at night in Japanese time, which should allow a wider group of observers abroad to participate in the event.
Also, some game developers will post ads for their latest products in English and Chinese, in addition to Japanese.
This is what the “Square Enix” company, the developer of “Final Fantasy”, “Capcom”, the developer of “Street Fighter” and “Resident Evil”, and the “Sega Atlus” developer of the game “Persona” are doing.
The event also suffers from the near-automatic neglect of the Japanese giant’s “Nintendo” group.
And the Japanese giant “Sony” revealed last week via the Internet the details of its “Playstation 5” game, which will be launched in November.
For its part, the American giant Microsoft announced that it will not reveal its latest video game devices from the “Xbox Series” series, which will also be launched in November.
The Japanese event organizers hope to benefit from this hypothetical experience in the future, and to draw lessons for future events.
“We would like to organize a hybrid event that preserves the strengths of the Tokyo Expo in its virtual version,” said Yamagi, if the epidemic is brought under control next year.