Low-key Tokyo Game Show opens

Exhibitors down slightly over last year's numbers

TOKYO – A slightly subdued Tokyo Game Show opened Thursday with a shortage of new tentpole titles dampening the local buzz, and the strong yen putting off some foreign exhibitors.

“As well as the strength of the yen, many of the overseas companies come to show new technology but with the game console development cycle where it is now, many aren't displaying this year,” suggested an official from Nikkei, the business news specialist that organizers the event.

Sony was generating most of what real buzz there was on the opening business day of the event, with its “Monster Hunter 3” game for the PlayStation Portable attracting long lines at demonstration stands. The long delayed Move controller -- Sony's answer to the Wii's motion sensor -- finally has a line-up of games to go with it, and was also pulling in the crowds, along with 3D games.

Microsoft also unveiled five games by Japanese developers that will use its Kinect Xbox motion controller, at a keynote presentation. The company continues to focus on Japan, despite its low market share.

The four-day TGS, held annually at the Makuhari Messe complex just outside the capital, remains one of the world's biggest game events, and still attracted 194 exhibitors offering 712 games. Although the number of companies is down a little on last year, they have a few more games on offer between them.
In terms of platforms, the number of titles for PCs is up, to 148, while those for mobile phones have declined to 123 – a reverse of trends of recent years.
For game consoles, the Nintendo DS has the most titles available, 110, followed by the PSP, which has twice as many games as last year, with 50. The Wii has 20 new games here, the same as last year, while the PlayStation 3 has 27 titles, up from 21 in 2009.

The iPad had 18 games on its TGS debut, many of them adapted from iPhone games. “Street Fighter IV” by Capcom, is currently the best-selling game on the touchscreen tablet, both locally and globally, according to the company representing it at TGS.

Other major Japanese game companies, such as Namco Bandai, are also releasing games for the iPad, in expectation that it will emulate the success of the iPhone in Japan, which broke the domestic dominance of the handset market.
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