Tokyo Game Show 2013: what to tune into during Japan’s off-year

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 18 September 2013 16:31 GMT

The Tokyo Game Show kicks off tomorrow, but despite the impending launch of new hardware it’s a relatively quiet affair. Here’s what we’re looking forward to.

What we’re mainly expecting out of TGS 2013 is trailers and screenshots, I’m afraid. A couple of years ago this would have been a much longer article. The good news is, next year it probably will be, and certainly the year after that. Tokyo Game Show 2013 is a victim of the same conditions that made it a subdued affair in 2012, and which have this year made several consumer-friendly shows – PAX and gamescom, for example – a bit redundant from the press’s point of view.

The problem is, again, the console transition. The last few years have been quieter and quieter in terms of new properties and big announces, as everyone locked down their new console launch titles, and now we’re going to have a bit of a lull until the second wave of new releases hits. After that, if everything goes well with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it should be all go – but for now, when you go to a trade show you’re largely going to see things you already know quite a lot about. You know a lot about games like Titanfall and Watch Dogs because they’ve been shown at all the other events already, and you know a lot about the new hardware because the platform holders have been messaging like an overly-attached boyfriend.

It’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun on the show floor for those who’ve yet to glory in all this, but not so much for those of us at home. You don’t want to hear us wax lyrical about Respawn’s new shooter again, and you don’t want to hear us delve into the intricacies of Japanese games only one member of staff and about three and a half very occasional readers are interested in. Microsoft is unlikely to have anything much to say. Nintendo Directs have largely replaced the company’s trade show presence in terms of announcements. Sony has said it’s bringing no surprises and has already shot its load twice in the last few weeks; additionally, the PS4 doesn’t go on sale in Japan until February, so it doesn’t have to rush out a big hands-on presence.

So that’s why, this year, we’re not frantically dashing about with multiple staff and livestreams and coverage plans. It’s an off year, we think. Next year, we hope to be there with bells on, checking out the last great drops Japan can squeeze from the current generation, and a wave of fresh new development on PS4 and Xbox One.

Still, there is some good stuff to pay attention to this year, from the comfort of your home, so here’s what to watch for.

The first event of the show is Sony’s keynote. If the 2011 Vita keynote is anything to go by, Sony’s PS4 presentation this year will focus on showing off the console’s UI and discussing its in-development features. It will probably be quite interesting, and unusually, it will be live-streamed; we’ll be harvesting any decent headlines that come out of it, but don’t expect much. Andrew House, Shuhei Yoshida and Masayasu Ito will be presenting.

That isn’t the only PlayStation event worth watching; Sony’s stage events include coverage ofGran Turismo 6, Soul Sacrifice Delta, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Watch Dogs. If you’re interested, Sony will broadcast these three events via Nico Nico. DualShockers has compiled some handy links and a schedule, although unfortunately we don’t know when Sony will be showing which games.

There are several other livestreams worth tuning into. Sega, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Grasshopper Manufacture owner Gung Ho and Japanese gaming site 4Gamer. While all the streams have something of interest o someone, there are few stand-out moments. Capcom has an unannounced title to reveal, though. For the full stream schedule, check out Gematsu‘s elegant summary.

As I said, it’s not a huge show this year, although hardcore fans of Japanese games should keep an eye out, and the Sony streams are worth a look for PlayStation fans. We’ll dish up anything tasty we come across, so in the meantime sit back, relax, open a box of Pocky and let Tokyo do its thing.

Tokyo Game Show runs September 19 through 22 in Chiba. You’ll find all our coverage collated in one handy TGS 2013 hub.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.