Japan’s esports scene has only just begun unfolding its wings and game publisher Konami decided to seize the day. The company will be constructing a massive esports center in Ginza, Tokyo’s top commercial district.
It wasn’t so long ago that Japan had a strained relationship with esports. The legislation around competitive gaming and tournaments was so strict that instead of money, some tournament organizers offered food as prizes. These days are behind us – with the relaxing of suffocating laws, esports arrived in Japan with a bang, spawning multiple professional teams, tournaments and other events. Now, Konami are doing their own part by aiming to provide Tokyo with a large esports facility to house this burgeoning phenomenon.
The Esports Ginza Studio will be a massive endeavor, a 12-story tower spanning 2500 square meters. It will be located in Ginza, Tokyo’s top stop for all things shopping and commerce. The idea is to have a centralized esports facility furnished with the latest in gaming hardware and stage effects. What is more, Konami are planning to host regular esports classes with the goal of acquiring new local talent. Fans will also be able to get some sweet merch at the center’s dedicated esports shop.
Keep in mind, these are just concept renders, the center is still under construction.
You probably know Konami Holdings Corporation or simply Konami, as the company behind famous titles such as Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and Pro Evolution Soccer. They also hold the rights to Frogger and the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game and you can trace their influence on the gaming world as far as the 70s.
While a well-established name in the gaming industry, Konami’s decisions have been somewhat questionable as of late. For example, they parted ways with Metal Gear Solid’s creator Hideo Kojima in a storm of drama that lasted a year and culminated with his bitter exit from the company and his name being taken down from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Konami also opted to put an abrupt stop on Silent Hill’s latest release – Silent Hills – with the participation of Guillermo del Toro, a title anticipated by many.
Statements about Konami going forward with a “mobile-first” strategy started flying about, and unrest was in the air. The newest development in Konami’s undertakings seems to be this large construction project. Mind you, they are no strangers to esports – they host multiple World Championships, such as the Winning Eleven GEO Cup, the KONAMI Arcade Championship which focuses entirely on arcade games and many more.
The Esports Ginza Studio project appears to be a serious shift towards tournament organizing as well as finding additional sources of income. Let’s not forget that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are knocking on the door and if Ginza were to have an established esports studio by then, it could attract an enormous crowd. Konami have given themselves an ambitious deadline – supposedly, the studio should be complete at the end of November 2019. If they succeed, Tokyo will get its first big esports hub just in time for the Olympics.
Image credit: Konami Holdings Corporation