High-speed 5G game integration in spotlight at Tokyo Game Show

The Tokyo Game Show opened on Thursday with the spotlight on how game makers will take advantage of ultra-high-speed 5G mobile data networks ahead of the technology’s commercial rollout in Japan in 2020.

Game makers and related network developers cite their sector as one which will benefit from next-generation wireless networks that are expected to allow players of increasingly popular online games to utilize faster downloads and smoother connections.

At the annual extravaganza at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture, major mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc., which will start commercial 5G services in 2020 along with rivals KDDI Corp., SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten Inc., has set up a booth promoting 5G gaming.

It will arrange a tournament where up to 100 players can be simultaneously connected, and will also offer augmented reality games in which users can watch battles between characters that are superimposed in their current physical locations via their smartphone screens.

The next-generation services can send and receive data around 100 times faster than current 4G technology. Smartphone users, for example, will be able to download a two-hour movie in just three seconds.

Continuing the trend of recent years, the Tokyo Game Show will also feature esports competitions on two big special stages each with 500-seat stadiums for spectators. Organizers are hoping to entice more domestic players into the fast-growing competitive gaming market.

Esports is already popular in South Korea, the United States and Europe, but not so much in Japan where online competitive gaming is still at a relatively early stage.

The four-day game show is expected to draw around 250,000 visitors to see the 655 exhibitors, including 305 from overseas, showcasing their latest products, according to organizers Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association and Nikkei Business Publications Inc.

The event is open to the media and industry officials for the first two days and to the public for the remainder.

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