Sept. 15 - Sony's Vita and mobile gaming take center stage at the Tokyo Game Show. Arnold Gay reports.
Sony's new handheld, and mobile gaming, took center stage on opening day of the annual Tokyo Game Show. Sony had already stolen some of the thunder by announcing the launch date for its PS Vita on Wednesday (September 14); Judging from the queues, its refusal to cut prices has only served to hype up interest its new handheld game console. Trade visitors waited for as long as an hour to test the PS Vita, with some gamers like Nobumichi Kumabe clearly impressed. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) GAME SOFTWARE MAKER EMPLOYEE NOBUMICHI KUMABE SAYING: "It does depend on what the line-up of games are at the launch, but it was enough to make me want to buy one on the launch day." Social and mobile gaming also created a buzz on day one of the 4-day event, as growing numbers of gamers have moved from dedicated gaming hardware to playing games on their smartphones or tablets. Social gaming company DeNA (pronounced Dee-In-Na), which owns the popular Japanese mobile site, Mobage, announced a joint venture with game maker Namco Bandai. The company has over 30 million users in Japan, and $925 million in sales. DeNA president Isao Moriyasu says the segment has grown so much, it's no longer just startups fighting in the mobile playing field. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) DENA PRESIDENT ISAO MORIYASU SAYING: "(Social gaming) has become about the same size market as console games. I feel that in that sense, it's no longer just small companies but also the companies that have supported the entire gaming industry that are now moving into the social gaming field." 2-year-old DeNA owns more than half of Japan's mobile market and is looking to expand overseas. Sony Ericsson is showing off its its Xperia Play, a smartphone that slides open to reveal a Playstation Portable (PSP) style keypad and is optimized for gaming. The phone has its own Playstation game shop, and runs Google's latest Android operating system. This year's Tokyo Game Show boasts over 193 companies from 16 countries. Arnold Gay, Reuters