As a gaming powerhouse, Japan needs no introduction. However, competitive gaming hasn’t taken root in the country as quickly as it has in others, making it an domestic outlier. The situation now appears to be changing, though – the Japanese government has issued plans to boost the economy with esports by 2025.
What is the plan, exactly?
According to the Japan Times, the plan is a joint endeavor between private and public sectors:
The government has an ambitious plan to expand Japan’s esports industry with the private sector to help revitalize regional economies and increase social participation by people with disabilities, with an eye to generating ¥285 billion ($2.6 billion) in economic benefits a year by 2025, sources close to the matter said.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will reportedly work with businesses and legal experts to promote esports in more coordinated way. A large stumbling block for growth currently is the lack of expertise in the industry, not to mention lack of domestic exposure and the elaborate laws that prevent large tournament prizes from being distributed to players. If these hurdles are overcome, esports should be able to thrive in Japan as it does in other countries.
Through the combined efforts of the Ministry and businesses, regional economic benefits should be seen by 2025 in the form of ticket sales, online viewing fees and advertising revenue, as well as the ancillary boons that come with tournament hosting and equipment supply. As mentioned in the Times, a social push towards inclusivity will also be a part of Japan’s esports plans.
Gaming in Japan as it stands
Japan is considered the third largest gaming market in the world, with an estimated $19.2 billion in games revenue as of 2018. The gaming scene is largely dedicated to single player titles, with some of the most popular genres being JRPGs, dating simulators, and quiz games. Fighting games are the most popular games relating to esports, making it a perfect intersection for attracting more interest in the industry.
The Intel World Open, set to occur before the now-postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics, was to be a highlight event for Street Fighter V and a launching platform for the future of Japanese esports. When the COVID-19 pandemic abates, it’s likely to still be where the Japanese government’s five-year esports development plan gets a head start.
Stay tuned to SlashShout for further developments.