video games

The big push: Considering a developer presence at Tokyo Game Show 2024

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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The big push: Considering a developer presence at Tokyo Game Show 2024

Nikkei BP's Shinri Endo goes into the details behind the 2023 results of the Tokyo Game Show on April 10, 2024

Victor Barreiro Jr/Rappler

The stakes for presenting at the Tokyo Game Show can be high. Here's what game developers may want to consider ahead of the big day.

For game developers of all stripes, the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) can be a stepping stone to greatness.

As one of the largest games trade conferences in the world, having a presence there can be the start of something big, especially for developers in Southeast Asia hoping to make their games stand out.

It can be a big gamble, as most of the time, you’re paying to hopefully spark the attention of gamers, executives, and fellow game developers alike. Rappler covered the presence of seven Philippine game developers at TGS 2016, and I myself have happy memories of playing some of the games presented that year, such as Political Animals and Kill the Plumber.

On Wednesday, April 10, Rappler was invited to a briefing at Microtel Pasay regarding TGS 2024. The briefing aimed to provide information to game developers and media ahead of the September event.

That said, the stakes can be high, so if you’re considering a presence at TGS 2024, here are some things you might want to consider ahead of any big decisions.

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‘Welcome back to the stage of history’

TGS 2024 will be held, as in 2023, at the Makuhari Messe from September 26 to 29. The first two days are set up as business-specific days, while general attendance will be held on the latter two days.

While TGS 2023 had a combined 243,238 visitors, Nikkei BP’s Shinri Endo of the Tokyo Game Show Management Office said they expect to reach 250,000 visitors across the four days of TGS 2024.

The event will be spread across halls 1 through 11, with 40 booths dispersed in each hall and physical and virtual venues available for developers who want to showcase their games or related technologies or wares.

‘Stay a while, and listen’

If you’re looking to get your game into TGS 2024 the traditional way, expect to shell out premiums for the privilege.

To be there physically, exhibition fees start at P104,500 for a turnkey booth or P146,300 for a slightly larger 3mx3m space, with a shell-scheme booth costing P204,820.

There’s a separate fee for the business meeting areas, with prices ranging from P83,600 to P204,820 for either a basic table or a meeting room. Those who’ve already paid to exhibit at TGS 2024 can take advantage of a reduced price for a meeting room booth.

You could also host a forum if you wanted to during the two business days of TGS 2024, with prices starting at 880,000 Yen.

Additionally, there are fees to be paid if you want an online presence.

It’s 275,000 Yen to have an online exhibit, which includes being listed on the exhibitor list on the official site and complimentary use of the TGS business matching system, which is basically a system that lets companies and game developers meet to do business, either virtually or at TGS 2024, to show off their wares and match with each other based on their needs or who they want to pitch to.

Meanwhile, getting slots to show off your game as part of the Official Exhibitor Program means paying at least 2,750,000 Yen for a 50-minute slot of coverage, or more for a prime spot. And you can purchase up to two of those in total consecutively. More information on the official online exhibitor program is available here.

More information on acquiring a presence at TGS 2024 is available on the TGS 2024 website’s exhibitor program. Applications for exhibits end on May 24.

‘Hope is what makes us strong’

Of course, for game developers in Southeast Asia who may have the funding for a ticket to TGS as well as airfare and accommodations but little else, there’s still a ray of hope to get yourself noticed, and it’s called the Indie 80.

Being part of the selected Indie 80 grants you a free exhibit at the Indie Game Area at Makuhari Messe,. Eight of these titles will be highlighted during the “Sense of Wonder Night,” where the game developers pitch their games to an audience of judges, and with the winner of the evening getting a $3,000 award.

The Indie 80 aims to show a diverse range of games for independent game developers, with information on applications for this available here and on this page. Applications for Indie 80 consideration will be held till April 30.

TGS 2024’s Steam Special Venue and combos for developers

Alongside TGS 2024 will be a much-loved Steam sale and showcase of upcoming games.

Aside from discounts on existing released games, you can expect the Selected Indie 80 to be showcased, alongside just-announced games and demos.

That said, if you’re a developer and are looking for a streamlined way to get a presence at TGS 2024, the organizers are also looking into collaborating with travel agencies to speed up the process of buying a package deal for the event. This is still tentative, so questions may be better directed at the organizing committee once they have an announcement on their website.

The big gamble

The question now remains, “Should I try my luck at TGS 2024?” That might depend on how confident you are in your game and your ability to market yourself and the game accordingly.

Indie game developers in the Philippines may want to apply for an Indie 80 spot, especially if they’re looking to pitch their game and get eyeballs and attention on it. They can worry about airfare and other stuff in the interim, after they’ve secured their spot.

While you don’t lose anything by not applying, intrepid game developers may want to apply for a place at TGS 2024 because there’s so much more to gain – from attention to business experience, it’s definitely not meant for the faint of heart.

But since when has a gamer balked at a challenge, right? –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.