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Friday, Sep. 21, 2012

Game show highlights smartphone offerings


Staff writer

Producing more quality social games will be a key to succeeding in the growing smartphone video game market as devices become more powerful and high-speed networks spread, according to Yoshikazu Tanaka, the president of game site operator Gree Inc.

News photo
Hooked: Media and business representatives try out "Professor Layton" by game maker Level-5 at the Tokyo Game Show 2012 in Makuhari Messe, Chiba Prefecture, on Thursday. YOSHIAKI MIURA

Tanaka made the comments in a speech Thursday to help kick off the Tokyo Game Show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, the industry's top event.

"There will be smartphones that are more capable than computers," Tanaka predicted. "The question is, what kinds of games can we provide to users?"

In all, 209 companies from around the world will showcase a record 1,043 titles at the annual four-day software and hardware exhibition, according to the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association.

Developers are expected to unveil more game titles for smartphones as sales of console games wind down.

The event is expected to draw roughly 195,000 gaming fans, with 1,609 booths offering hands-on testing of new games and other offerings, the organizer said.

Tanaka, who also spoke at the event in 2011, said the smartphones have spread quickly over the past year, which was reflected in the number of games on display: 256, or about three times more than last year.

To date, games for smartphones have tended to be simple on the theory that they are played merely to kill time rather than settling in for hours.

But Tanaka, whose company's social games have helped fuel its rapid growth, said as hardware specs and Internet speeds improve, smartphone users will be able to comfortably play games with more elaborate story lines and better graphics.

For this reason, Gree is preparing to provide more quality games, Tanaka said.

Among them are an "anime" program based on "Tanken Doriland," and "Metal Gear Solid," a Konami Corp. offering made for Gree's platform.

Today's smartphones boast ever better CPUs and bigger screens with higher resolution. For their part, cellphone carriers are starting to provide faster speeds through the LTE communications network.

Tanaka also stressed the growth potential of the industry as smartphones spread globally.

By 2015, there will be 11 times more smartphones in emerging countries than in 2011, while developed countries will see about a fourfold increase.


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