Joleen Blom & Elina Koskinen: Research visit in Japan Part II – Games Events in Tokyo

Booth by Atlus for the release of Persona 5 on the Nintendo Switch console. Photo by Joleen Blom.

In this blog post, CoE GameCult Researchers Joleen Blom and Elina Koskinen share their research visit experiences from Japan.

Tokyo Game Show 15.-18.9.2022

Tokyo Game Show is one of the biggest game exhibitions in the world. Organized live for the first time after COVID-19 began, the event attracted over 138 000 visitors which is roughly a half what it did previously in 2019. According to the press release by Tokyo Game Show, the 2022 event hosted 605 companies and organizations from 37 countries and regions showing their latest products. The venue showcased new game titles covering a wide range of genres for the latest game hardware and various platforms while also displaying related products, services, and merchandise in all varieties and types, reflecting the growing game industry.

We went on the days meant for industry professionals, which enabled us to look at the products and talk with the industry experts without huge crowds. For scholars like us, the event provided an excellent way to see how game companies advertise their newest products, and what professionals think are the important trends of current game industries.

Whereas Bitsummit (see our previous post) concentrated on indie games, Tokyo Game Show focused more on triple A games. Big industry names such as Sega, Square Enix, and Atlus were the event’s main attractions. These companies showed upcoming games such as Sonic Frontiers, Forspoken, remakes like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, or re-releases of Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5. To say that they were popular is an understatement; queues would often take as long as one to two hours just to play a demo version.

Sega & Sonic the Hedgehog. Photo by Elina Koskinen.
Finland representing at the Indie section! (Random Potion: Ignis Universia featuring Kirsi Rossi.) Photo by Elina Koskinen.

There were also booths held by different Japanese educational organizations such as universities, where students showcased games they had made. Also IGDA (International Game Developers Association) Japan had a booth where students who had received IGDA scholarship for the event were showing their games to the conference audience. The scholarship program is aimed for students who would like to work in the games industry in the future, and IGDA Japan wants to foster this next generation of game developers by providing opportunities for gaining experience and networking.

Elina was helping at the IGDA Japan booth, talking with the English speaking visitors about IGDA and introducing the games by IGDA scholarship students. Photo by Elina Koskinen.
Student games by Hokkaido Information University (also with some alternative, snowball-rolling controls!) Photo by Elina Koskinen.
Elina testing out Oddworld: Soulstorm (by Oddworld Inhabitants). Picture credits: unknown.
Game Market, Tokyo 29.-30.10.2022

Elina visited the Game Market event aimed at enthusiasts of analog games, as in board and card games. The event consists mostly of tables where people sell games that they have made, some play areas for big names such as Catan and Rummikub, as well as booths by commercial entities. Some digital games were also present for example in the form of games with alternative controllers. You can find a more thorough report on the event at the BoardGameGeek website.

The event consisted mostly of booths where game designers were selling their products. Photo by Elina Koskinen.
Rummikub tables were full. Photo by Elina Koskinen.
A game where the player uses a washing board as the controller. Photo by Elina Koskinen.
Had to take a picture with the mascot. Picture credits: unknown.

Stay tuned for more blog posts on our activities!

Author biographies & contact information:

Dr. Joleen Blom is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies and at the Game Research Lab at Tampere University. Her research interests include transmedia storytelling, Japanese games and culture, characters, and para-social relationships and intimacy through technology and media.


Elina Koskinen is a Doctoral Researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies and at Tampere University Game Research Lab. She has been studying various topics within game studies, such as free-to-play games, location-based games and ethics & game design. Her PhD work concentrates on memorable player experiences in Pokémon GO. Her other research interests include games industry, game jams and games user research. She is volunteering in games related associations such as IGDA Finland and Finnish Game Jam organization, keeping up with the game making culture.


Joleen Blom (left) and Elina Koskinen (right) in Kyoto, 2022. Photo by Joleen Blom.