Tokyo Game Show: The Mobile Players



If 2012 was the year that mobile exhibitors overtook consoles at the Tokyo Game Show, 2013 was the year consoles rebounded, with Sony and Microsoft dominating the show.

But there was still a strong mobile presence this year, perhaps the biggest exhibitor being GREE, once again shelling out for a large floor space. We spoke to their SVP of social games Eiji Araki, who explained why they feel the need to go big every year. But the standout newcomer this year at TGS was GungHo Online Entertainment, the developer of perhaps the world’s most successful game, Puzzle & Dragons, spotlighting their new 3DS version. They also previewed their upcoming title, Divine Gate, which is set for a September 30 release on Android.


There were some notable absences from the mobile space however. GREE rival DeNA, as always, chose to skip the event. Colopl had a pretty large booth last year, but they took a pass on showing up this year.

Casual game makers Line Corporation and BeeWorks, the creator of the wildly popular (and cute) Nameco franchise, were also no shows.

We turned our eyes to the little guys in mobile this year, skipping over consoles entirely [1]. In the indie gaming area it was great to see companies like Okinawa-based SummerTime Studio, who has had a hit with their Ancient Surfer mobile game. We had a short discussion with their president, Hirotsu Takeyasu, which you can check out below.

Set up right next to them was Tokyo-based Link Kit, the maker of Samurai Defender, a game that we reviewed (and loved) earlier this year. Team Martini was also showing off Pechan, a really fun game for iPad where you have to push a juicer around the screen to crush fruit.

The game show also had an area dedicated to romance simulation games, featuring Eitarosoft, Voltage, and the oddly named ZZYZX. We did a short interview with Voltage (see video below), a prolific game publisher with over 50 titles to date. They plan to release one app every month, including some games that men can enjoy as well. This is one of those genres that is unique to Japan, but I imagine we will see more of these kind of titles creep into the global market (as we saw with card battle games), on an experimental basis if nothing else.

They came from beyond

Of course, the game show wasn’t just about Japanese game producers peddling their wares. There were also an abundance of foreign game makers parachuting into the country to show off titles here. As we mentioned yesterday, the one that most impressed us was Israel’s Nordau Creative with its Kazooloo augmented reality dragon fighting title.

But there was also an abundance of exhibitors from the Asia region, representing Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Tawian, Thailand, and Vietnam.

We also were quite impressed by the efforts of Russian developer and publisher Game Insight, who just recently launched a localized version of their Tribez game here in Japan for iOS. They win our unofficial award for the most enthusiastic game demo, corralling me and my colleague into a room and not letting us go until we had seen five of their games. They should get a raise.

And finally, making my naughty list this year is Square Enix, who once again had their “no photos” policy in effect at their booth, demonstrating that they still do not comprehend the concept of a “show”.

The Nordau Creative team, featuring Kazooloo AR game at Tokyo Game Show

  1. There no shortage of coverage over on sites like Tktk and Tktk, so you can check that out there.  ↩