- Title: JAPAN: TOKYO GAME SHOW 2002
- Date: 20th September 2002
- Summary: CU KONAMI'S GAME ON SCREEN
- Embargoed: 5th October 2002 13:00
- Location: MAKUHARI, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Technology
- Reuters ID: LVABVUD5QGILQIVMI110HQU76JBI
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- Story Text: Japan's biggest video game trade show kicked off in Tokyo as the biggest players -- software giant Microsoft and electronics mammoth Sony -- vied for the hearts of gamers world wide.
In the world of video games, the Tokyo Game Show, which opened on Friday (September 20) is the 'Top of the Pops'.
It is the biggest show by far, with over 85 domestic and overseas software companies exhibiting 500 new products this year. It's also widely recognised for having the latest and the coolest games on the block.
This year's Tokyo Game Show 2002 marks a real departure for the gaming industry, as it shakes off its 'boxy' image of consoles that attach to televisions.
The advent and explosive success of broadband in Japan, Asia and the U.S. has brought online gaming to the fore in a big way.
These games which can be played by several people over the internet are the latest in a series of developments pushed by both Sony Corp. and Microsoft, the two giants of the gaming industry.
Microsoft, which is banking on online gaming to push its stakes in the gaming world higher, announced its much awaited 'X-box live' gaming service at the show.
"Our line called "X-box live", we've announced it today we will be shipping our servicing in 2002, January 16th. It is very very easy to be connected, so you deserve the interfaces absolutely great,' said Hirohisa Ohura, managing director of Microsoft Japan.
"It's broadband only. We have all of the software using voice-communications. So when the gamers concentrate on the game with the game pad, you don't have to move the keyboard.
So they could communicate with other users through voice. We think this is absolutely the key on the next generation with the console game on line," Ohura added.
The service will cost players 6,800 yen (55.98 U.S.
dollars), which includes 12-months' access fee and equipment for voice communications with other players.
In the rival camp is Sony with its popular Playstation console.
While they are also online compatible, they insist their strategy remains firmly with the traditional games.
"I don't know whether I want to call it a fight or not.
I'm sure you're talking about X-box, but I'm sure Microsoft has their own strategy and we have our own strategy. On-line game experience is very important for us but likewise package media, off-line gaming, like package games, they are also very important for us. We cannot say which has the higher priority.
Both are important," said Yoshiko Furusawa, director of Corporate Communications at Sony Computer Entertainment.
As this virtual battle runs its course, one thing gamers around the world can be guaranteed is more fun and games for some time to come at the Tokyo Game Show.
The convention runs for three days Friday (September 20) for business officials and Saturday (September 21) and Sunday (September 22) for the general public and about 150,000 people are expected to visit.
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