13 million people, 844 square miles, the epitome of modern Japanese culture and the world’s leader in technological innovation—this is Tokyo. For decades, this fascinating city filled with vending machines and delicious ramen restaurants has been the epicenter for console gaming on both sides of the ocean, since giving birth to the Famicom (known here in the states as our beloved NES), so it comes as no surprise that Tokyo Game Show is the premier event in the East that Westerners look forward to each year. TriplePoint was in attendance at this year’s monumental show to experience the event firsthand, meet with fellow colleagues and clients in the gaming space, and note new trends in the gaming world.
As always, the traditional publishers were in full force, with grandiose booths being maintained by the likes of Capcom, Tecmo Koei, Konami, Square Enix, and TriplePoint client SEGA. With other areas of the show devoted to particular genres of gaming, such as PC and smartphone, the biggest change in the normal TGS lineup was the explosion of mobile and social game developers and publishers present.
Every large publisher had their own mobile games to show off, with many titles given a good amount of booth space for demos, but dedicated mobile game publishers, such as GREE, had a booth presence that easily rivaled every traditional publisher’s setup in terms of sheer size and glitz. A flurry of statistics, just a Google search away, reveal that Japan, China, and the rest of Asia are in love with mobile and social gaming, and its huge presence at TGS was anything but unnoticeable. Our meetings with Japanese developers only strengthened this interest, with many either already developing titles for iOS and Android or are at the very least considering it.
Perhaps surprisingly, Western indie games were also in show on the floor. Upon visiting the PC gaming section, Japanese company Playism.jp, a digital distribution PC platform akin to Steam or TriplePoint client GamersGate, used its space to showcase key titles in its growing catalog, including Lume, VVVVVV, and TriplePoint client And Yet It Moves… Playism.jp doesn’t just solely distribute these games in their original form though; each one is completely localized so that Japanese-only speakers can enjoy these artistic and thought-provoking titles.
Here in the states, we’re accustomed to receiving ports of Japan’s most popular titles, but it’s uncommon that you see the trend vice-versa, especially with small developers. This is something that mobile developers in particular are looking to turn the tides on, with mobile social platforms like TriplePoint client PapayaMobile offering Western developers a way into China by translating their games into Chinese and distributing it for them overseas.
When it comes down to it, mobile is here to stay, and Japan’s biggest game trade and consumer show of the year certainly proved that. With nearly everyone nowadays owning a phone, it’s easier than ever to reach out and instantly download something to pass that time away on transit. The land of the rising sun is no exception, we expect Tokyo Game Show will be the place to watch for mobile innovations the way it has contributed to our console cravings over the past 15 years and TriplePoint will be sure to watch it grow firsthand.