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‘Virtual’ Tokyo Game Show 2020: What We Learned and What Comes Next?



On September 27, Tokyo Game Show 2020 came to a close, after nearly four days of around the clock live streaming.


We brought to you the big expectations, and the insight of people in the field, especially following the first day, which included big names such as Microsoft in the preview to the next generation Xbox console in November, as well as SQUARE ENIX.


Reviewing the online experience compared to previous years of in person events, the trend this year was that most people would tune in for large expected announcements. Lesser known streamed presentations, though, got less traction.


This was a trend which continued through the weekend, in some ways reflecting the attraction of the flashy and famous and the struggle of smaller companies, especially when so much content is being offered.




Big Draws: CAPCOM, Koei Tecmo, Cyberpunk 2077


Some companies try to attract attention before the event so that people will tune in to their stream. And in that sense, the giants in the industry were successful.


Koei Tecmo was one of the most viewed videos during the event, with over 456,000 streams as of September 28. The stream, which lasted nearly two hours, included big announcements, such as the first ever gameplay release of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, part of the household name franchise, Legend of Zelda.


To top it off, in honor of the 20th anniversary since the first release of Dynasty Warriors, Koei Tecmo announced Dynasty Warriors 9 for 2021.


CAPCOM, which streamed on Friday, was also among the most viewed videos of the show. It had racked up nearly 400,000 streams as of this posting. The content included new gameplay for Monster Hunter Rise, and more information on the new Biohazard Resident Evil, Resident Evil 8: Village


Their presentation generated extra excitement when it mentioned that the company is “considering” putting the game also on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as the next generation consoles.



In another first, CAPCOM’s show producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi also announced that Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness will be released as a TV series on Netflix. The show is set to star Leon S Kennedy and Claire Redfield in the starring roles, and is scheduled to be available for stream in 2021.


Cyberpunk 1977 provided one of the other big announcements. It’s latest video game is being designed by CD Projekt RED, the same company from Poland that produced the Witcher.


Although the gameplay shown might have been already known to Western audiences, the stream included commentary by environment city’s Hiroshi Sakakibaraーspecial for the Japanese audienceーon the inspirations for the videogame. It covered Western influences, as well as elements of pop culture which would be familiar to a Japanese audience, such as the famous film Akira (1988),  based in an apocalyptic future. The video accumulated over 150,000 streams.


Another category of the TGS live streaming channel that gathered attention was Esports, demonstrating the growth of this sector even in Japan. 


The TGS game awards, which provide a way to recognize video games in different categories, was also popular.




The Future of Online Gaming Events


However, it was worse sailing for smaller companies, with videos in the few thousands of views.


Nevertheless, in all it seems the TGS 2020 online experiment delivered promising results, as in the span of four days the YouTube channel dedicated to the event accumulated over 40,000 followers, when before the event there were barely a few thousands. 


In addition, the most hyped announcements gathered far more traction than they would have face-to-face, with close to half a million streams. Many more tuned in from abroad than would have attended the event in a normal year. 


At the same time, as we have learned  from the pandemic in other ways, there are some limitations from using this method. As the content online grows, there is more saturation in the market. Smaller companies and new media might benefit less than they would from the sheer number of people that normally crowd the venue at Makuhari Messe, in Chiba Prefecture.



In the meantime, it is clear that there is no shortage of interest in the world of videogames. As the console wars between Sony and Nintendo are set to start in November, make sure to check for further announcements in the next few months.



Author: Arielle Busetto






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