The Ginza shopping district of Tokyo Japan will be home to a 12 storey tower dedicated to Esports in 2020 courtesy of… Konami?
The Konami of yesterday was a powerhouse in the gaming space launching franchises like Contra, Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Castlevania and more. The Konami of the last 10 years is mostly known for breaking ties with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and pulling back it’s game development in favor of using their IP in pachinko and other amusement devices instead. (making an absolute mint in the process)
It seems like Konami hasn’t forgotten it’s roots though. In anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Konami Creative Center (KCC) will open in the Ginza District offering an esports arena, production sets and equipment, classes in esports production and ever retail spaces where esports focused products can be purchased.
“The people who participate in eSports will in the future, stand side by side with those participating in real-life sports like soccer, or even surpass them. Compared to eSports pioneers America and Europe, Japan has still a long way to go. However, looking from another angle, it means Japan has lots of room for growth.” – Konami president Kimihiko Higashio
Japan’s antiquated gambling laws have kept esports growth slow in the region as they conflict with being able to award prizes. There’s interest in changing that from both government and corporate entities who appear tired of lagging behind other regions. Here’s to hoping they can as the Japanese culture is deeply rooted in gaming and tech innovations. A Japan freed to embrace esports would have a lot to add to the international stage.