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Tech Trends

Tokyo Game Show 2015

Gamers are packing into the Tokyo Game Show and this year's event kicked off with a record 480 companies showing their latest gear. One of the hottest items is the virtual reality headset. Sony Computer Entertainment has renamed its test model, and is hoping to have it on the market next year.

"There are a lot of products that allow people to enjoy virtual reality. I think 2016 will be the first virtual reality year," predicts Sony Computer Entertainment Director Yas Takahashi.

The trend has been adopted by businesses big and small, and one lesser-known enterprise has taken VR technology to another stage. Production I.G's game layers an animated character over real-time images shot with a camera attached to a robot. Players' hand movements are picked up by infra-red rays in the headset.

The game accommodates multiple viewers and images are projected onto a half-dome ceiling. Production I.G is hoping for a hit. "We projected that the market for virtual reality would expand. We want to get a share of that market," says the firm's planning office executive manager Mikio Gunji.

"Let's Play" gaming is another major attraction at the annual show. It allows gamers to livestream or upload a video online, demonstrating their play with narration. Players often discuss and demonstrate their strategies and techniques.

A collection of goods is on offer to support gamers who like to broadcast how they play. One piece of equipment allows players to speak into a microphone while both hands are occupied with a game.

Accessories maker Logicool says sales of items for broadcasting gamers are up 30% worldwide. "Gamers choose products the way professional athletes choose their shoes and other gear. I think the business will grow," says the company's category manager Akihito Furusawa.

You Tube and Amazon have a presence at the show for the first time, driven by gamers' increasing use of the Internet. Amazon acquired the video game site Twitch - the world's largest platform for Let's Play - last year.

"We saw live streaming becoming a great way for developers and players...gamers, to interact with one another. We saw that this was a brand-new, up-and-coming space on the scene," says Amazon Japan director Jonathan Nagao.

The Tokyo Game Show runs September 17-20.

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