Although there had once been hopes about Tokyo Game Show returning to some form of in-person event in 2021, the organizers have confirmed that the upcoming September event will be an online-only affair.
Tokyo Game Show 2020 was forced online by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that made traveling inside and outside of Japan to gather in a confined exhibition hall an impossibility without risking a super-spreader event. As a result, the event was a distinctly online-only affair, with accommodations being made to accompany international fans by companies such as Square Enix, Level-5, Koei Tecmo, and the organizers themselves. This new event will follow these plans, and has been given the fitting subtitle of ‘We’ll Always Have Games’ to encompass its theme.
Plans for Tokyo Game Show 2021 Online will expand on these plans and make improvements based on the feedback from the last event. While many of the events last year were accessible to international fans thanks to being pre-recorded with multi-language subtitles, this will be further expanded so that all main-channel shows and many secondary shows support subtitles in multiple languages, including English. Furthermore, and perhaps most excitingly, the event will work with companies and various storefronts to distribute demos of games showcased at Tokyo Game Show 2021 Online.
However, there will be some form of in-person event for those in the press, if not the public. A smaller offline event will be held at the event’s traditional venue of Makuhari Messe for press and influencers where they can play many of the game demos being showcased at the event and interview exhibitors, acting as a further way for the event experience to be dispersed to fans all around the world.
This follows on from previous discussions on how there are plans to create a form of hybrid event for Tokyo Game Show in the future. While it seems likely that in-person fan attendance will return when it is safe to do so, I would expect some of the ideas being implemented this year to become the norm for the event in the future.
Tokyo Game Show 2021 Online will take place on video distribution platforms and in-person at Makuhari Messe from 30 September until 3 October. You can find out more over on the official website.