Mobile gaming toplines Tokyo fest

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TOKYO -- The 2007 Tokyo Game Show opened Thursday with 100 overseas companies exhibiting their video game titles, nearly double the number in attendance last year. But the big growth story here is mobile phone gaming, with the number of exhibitor booths up 50% from last year, covering more floor space than the Nintendo Wii, DS and PS3 combined.

Opening the TGS Forum by emphasizing the successes of the Playstation 3 console was Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

But the chart behind Hirai in Tokyo's sprawling Makuhari Messe complex -- showing the sales history of all Sony consoles -- told a tale of disappointment. PS3 sales in red were dwarfed by the chart's huge blue section representing the PS2, the best-selling game platform of all time.

Hirai pointed out how sales of the PS2 had reached sales of 100 million units much faster than the original Playstation. He made no prediction for when the PS3 would hit the same mark.

Many of the 1,735 booths in the show's main halls told the same story: The space dedicated to PS2 titles was more than double that housing PS3 titles.

TGS is expected to attract 180,000 visitors over four days to view 217 companies promoting 702 video game titles.

A new "one-seg" TV tuner was announced for the Playstation Portable, inspired by the popularity of the devices on Japanese mobile phones.

Though Hirai made much of wireless and online capabilities of both consoles, he apologized for the launch of the Playstation Home net service being delayed to spring 2008 from winter 2007.

Forty new titles are being launched for the PS3, including "Pirates of Caribbean: World's End," "Spiderman 3," "Final Fantasy vs. XIII" and "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots." The Dualshock vibrating controller, a big hit with the PS2, also is being resurrected for the PS3 in the form of Dualshock 3.

Japan's top three mobile carriers, DoCoMo, Softbank and AU all had major exhibits and most of the big game manufacturers have separate booths for mobile titles, many of which are versions of classic titles formerly available for game consoles.





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