Tokyo Game Show – No, Not The Kind You Win Money By Eating Worms

The Japan Times Online had an interesting article regarding the attendance and  aftermath reaction of this year’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS).  I’ll let you guys familiarize yourselves with the article before I share my thoughts on it.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nc20090930a1.html

All done?  Cool.

So basically the article points out that attendance dropped by almost 10 thousand people from last years show.  Additionally, the article describes there were no big announcements, no console reveals, or surprise “mega” game disclosures, which in some people’s eyes means it was a “lackluster” show.

Simply, there were no announcements because everything had already been announced at previous trade shows (such as E3), and those products aren’t out yet, such as Project Natal or that Sony motion wand thingy.  And most of the big game companies either have their name game already revealed, planned and dated such as with FFXIII, or they had a game already come out earlier this year, making it a little to soon to announce the next sequel in the chain, such as with the Metal Gear franchise.  Still for a big trade shows like TGS, the big guns would usually have an ace hidden up their sleeve to surprise everyone right?  So why not this year?

Because of the attendance drop and the lack of new products, some people like Mega Man creator Kenji Inafune, made statements to the extent that “The Japanese game industry is dead.”   Is this true?   Personally I don’t think so.  I don’t think that any of this is surprising during a world wide recession.  Less expendable cash means less people able to attend trade shows.  The recession may even play a factor in why some of the big products and games (that are still a looooooong ways from being finished) were announced earlier this year instead of holding off till TGS in late September.  They needed to reassure the stockholders by showing them early in a tough year, “Hey! Look at this spiffy new toy we are working on!  It’s going to make you a mint!”

On the first TGS public day this year, attendance was 62,138 people.  62,138 bodies squeezed together and stepping on each other’s feet in a crowded convention hall!  That’s nothing to sneeze at (and probably a bit painfully to boot).  E3 this year only hosted about 41,000 people.  So is the Japanese game industry dead?   I don’t think so.  It’s just a bad year.  If attendance drops that much again next year, then I think we have something to worry about.

– DC

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