Tokyo Game Show attendance declines to 185,000

Japan's largest gaming exhibition sees year-over-year population drop off for the first time since switching to annual format in 2002; TGS 2010 dated for next September.

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TOKYO--Last year's Tokyo Game Show hit a record-high visitor count that came in just shy of the 200,000-visitor mark. Unfortunately, TGS 2009 did not fare as well. Show organizers the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Organization announced today that this year's attendance fell by almost 10,000 people, dropping from 194,288 in 2008 to 185,030 in 2009.

All those people, packed onto these grounds.
All those people, packed onto these grounds.

As a breakdown of attendance figures indicates (below), the business days had about the same number of visitors as last year. But the show was hit hard on its public opening day, which is when the most dedicated of Japanese gamers traditionally come in for an early peek at the new games.

Day 1 - 27,435 Visitors (2008: 27,305 Visitors)
Day 2 - 24,605 Visitors (2008: 24,178 Visitors)
Day 3 - 61,138 Visitors (2008: 71,639 Visitors)
Day 4 - 71,852 Visitors (2008: 71,166 Visitors)
Total: 185,030 Visitors (2008: 194,288 Visitors)

What's more, TGS 2009's visitor count signifies the first time that the show's attendance has taken a step backward after it switched to an annual format in 2002. (Prior to 2002, the show occurred on a semiannual basis.) Furthermore, attendance was below that of 2006, when the show was still a three-day event.

The global economic downturn seemed to affect the show's presence of small to midrange publishers. Frequent attendees of this ilk, such as From Software, Irem, and SNK Playmore, did not have booths at this year's show. Other attractions for the visitors, such as freebies and merchandise stores, were also not as prevalent as they have been in years past.

According to show organizers, TGS 2010 will return to Chiba prefecture's Makuhari Messe convention center. CESA is still deciding whether to hold the next show for three or four days. It will start on either September 16 or 17 and run until September 19. TGS 2010 will be the 20th show since its debut back in the summer of 1996.

Visitor attendance for previous Tokyo Game Shows has been as follows:
2007 - 193,040
2006 - 192,411
2005 - 176,056
2004 - 160,096
2003 - 150,089
2002 - 134,042
2001 Fall - 129,626
2001 Spring - 118,080
2000 Fall - 137,400
2000 Spring - 131,708
1999 Fall - 163,866
1999 Spring - 163,448
1998 Fall - 156,455
1998 Spring - 147,913

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