Annual Japan show for video games opens with record exhibitors, newcomers like YouTube, Amazon

Industries Associated Press

Japan's annual video game show opened Thursday with a record number of exhibitors, including independent companies and newcomers, a positive sign for an industry that has faced tough competition from games on social media and mobile devices.

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The Tokyo Game Show, which continues through Sunday, at Makuhari Messe convention center in the Tokyo suburb of Chiba, features more than 2,000 booths from 480 exhibitors.

Although Japanese game machine makers such as Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. have been leaders in the industry for decades, the Tokyo show underlined its increasingly global makeup, with more than half of the exhibitors coming from abroad.

A special section was set up for independent game designers from Asia.

Alwyn Lee, chief executive of Daylight Studios, a small independent game company from Singapore, was showing a PC and Mac version of his game that starred potato-shaped characters.

He acknowledged the market was bigger in the U.S. than in Japan, but his company has invested in adapting the game to the Japanese language, set to launch in a couple of months here.

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"We are getting feedback to adapt to the Japanese market," he said. "Japan is very famous for the mobile market, but this is the first time we are trying the desktop market."

YouTube and online retailer Amazon with its Twitch game service, both brands not typically associated with games, were also first-time exhibitors at the Tokyo show.

The event also had the perennial favorites, such as the latest versions of the "Street Fighter" combat game from Capcom and the "Metal Gear Solid" action adventure game from Konami Digital Entertainment.

It also highlighted offerings from lesser known companies.

One was "Oyaji Girly," which means "girlish old man," designed by female high school students, billed as an action game in which an old man is targeted to take on female traits.

Earlier this week, Sony Computer Entertainment, the game division of the Japanese electronics and entertainment company, announced a 5,000 yen ($41) price cut in Japan for the Play Station 4 home console, another move designed to woo fans. The console will now sell for 34,980 yen ($289) starting Oct. 1.

There were long lines at Sony's booth for its VR headset, which offers virtual reality games, promised for next year.

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