Tens of millions of dollars in prizes are won around the world! Tokyo Game Show 2017 booms with eSports.

Tokyo Game Show 2017

One of the largest game events worldwide, Tokyo Game Show 2017 was held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture. It drew 254,311 visitors (down 16,000 from last year) over the four days from September 21st to September 24th. Under the theme of “Reality Unlocked”, exhibitions showing games for senses other than vision or hearing were highlighted.


“Counter Fight”, a VR (virtual reality) game developed by TRICOL, stood out from all the others. The ramen shop simulation adopts the VAQSO VR scent enabling device, which lets you smell odors in a VR world. Regardless of the quality of the game, I think the idea is original.

TEGway had another attractive exhibition booth. It demonstrated a tactile sensor called “ThermoReal” which lets you feel heat, cold, and pain through a game controller. Feeling pain in VR is expected to have use in industries other than gaming.

This year’s game show included other challenging new fields, like eSports X, which has received a lot of attention in recent years.

Esports is a video game competition played in groups or as individuals. As winners can receive an enormous amount in prizes, this competition has become internationally popular. Already recognized by Europe, the USA, and, with the exception of Japan, Asia, various eSports events are held around the world. Some professional players make their living only by eSports. The prize pool for “The International 2016”, a popular Dota 2 online game competition, reached 20,770,640 dollars (about 2.3 billion yen).

e-Sports X

The prizes are so high because they raise money from attendees and audiences, and a big percentage of the proceeds go to the winners. Therefore, the hotter the game industry is, the bigger the prizes. Unfortunately, eSports may be long in coming to Japan due to legal hurdles: Giving prize money for gaming is categorized as a form of gambling. Hosting eSports X might be a step towards easing the legal constraint. The day for professional gamers in Japan is coming closer.

The game industry has expanded their business to include not only children’s games also new markets, such as seniors and women, by making use of “selection and concentration”. I would say the game industry has a bright future.

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