Tokyo Game Show 2007 – Video Report

Tokyo Game Show 2007 - Video ReportYet another successful event for in the massive Makuhari Messe convention center saw almost 200,000 pass through the gates for TGS 2007. Aaaah.. the chaos, the crowds, the girls games.. how could we resist! A sunny Saturday afternoon brought out the kids – for family day – and plenty of Cosplay actors were swarming between show halls to pose down for the camera’s. But the real action, coming from every major player in the gaming world, was inside. WWJ has been on-hand for this event pretty much every year since 2002, with the first-to-web video of the Sony PSP in 2004, and this time out was perhaps the most impressive yet.

The obvious evolution on display was without a doubt the next gen. motion-sensor enabled Mega Games at the DoCoMo booth. While KDDI rolled-out the heavy armor with Metal Gear Solid and BioHazzard for mobile RPG products, the display which seems to have grabbed the most attention was from SoftBank Mobile. Thanks to Darth and the Tokyo StormTroopers, who un-leashed the new Star Wars PodRacer game, we were hooked from Go!

PSP Phone by Sony Ericsson

The rumor mills are swirling again about the long storied dream evolution of Sony porting their popular PlayStation Portable brand to a next-gen. handset. We picked-up this article posted on a Spanish blog suggesting an ‘Insiders Report’ claimed the device is actually in the works. While would not be surprised it would be better to dig a more qualified source. That being said, in fact WWJ had pondered the concept in June 2006 with our Viewpoint “Gaming Set to Repeat Mobile Music Success“, basically stating not if but when.

GPS Student Safety System Trial

Elementary schools will test GPS/cellphones (KDDI/au models) that track kids every six seconds and have various alerts and warning functions. The system, which has been set up with a company called ITFOR, will be tested through next March at three schools affiliated with Osaka Kyoiku University, before being expanded to about 100 others.

Gaming Set to Repeat Mobile Music Success

Mobile Music Hot but Mobile Games will Blaze! by Mobikyo KKAs mobile music settles into a steady mainstream growth cycle, with now-well-established hardware and content offerings, many industry watchers are looking towards the Next Big Thing. We think they need look no further than portable gaming, which is set to take mobile by storm. All the ingredients for mobile gaming success are in place: key platforms, faster 3G networks, affordable and flat-rate data, and a keen, heavy using youth demographic that continues to display a never-ending quest for hardware upgrades. Take a look around the streets of Tokyo, and the conclusion is unmissable: gaming for mobile devices is set for impressive growth in the next few years.

To date, the limiting factor has been the actual devices, as it was at one stage with music. The Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, much like Apple’s iPod, have proven to be early major hits as stand-alone units, having sufficient onboard CPU and memory capabilities to run some intensive games. In view of the success of porting the well-known ‘Walkman‘ onto mobile phones, can it be that long before we see the PSP label on a prototype cell phone from Sony Ericsson?

The photo tells it all. Taken recently by WWJ digital media director Lawrence Cosh-Ishii in suburban Tokyo, it shows a group of mid-teen boys waiting for a train at Shimo-Kitazawa station; all are playing with a PSP, blissfully ignorant of the huge poster for KDDI/au’s new music campaign. Note also that the recent BREW 2006 Conference issued a release with the news that Qualcomm and Microsoft will port MS ‘Live Anywhere’ for X-Box 360 gaming onto BREW-enabled mobile handsets. If you don’t think these tech giants have got it right, just watch what the kids are doing!

Wireless Watch Japan – Top Stories for 2005

Wireless Watch Japan - Top Stories for 2005We published 596 articles on Wireless Watch Japan in 2005 and thought you might enjoy looking back at the most popular Japan mobile industry highlights from the year. The links below, three from each month, represent the two top stories (by volume of visitor requests) and a third which we consider a significant development in that 30-day period.

It’s been a year of explosive year in the mobile world and 2006 is set to be even much more interesting with faster mobile networks, more powerful handsets and compelling contents settling into the mainstream. Here in Japan, we are expecting a dramatic increase in m-commerce adoption, driven in part by Mobile Suica’s launch, set for later in January and the start of ‘One-Seg’ digital TV broadcasting starting — on all three carriers — on 1 April (no joke). We also see a potential increase in churn as a result of the (belated) introduction of number portability and with three new carriers entering the market, even DoCoMo is concerned.

One of the more obvious action areas in 2006 will be the increase of M&A activity at all levels; in particular, look for consolidation in the Japanese handset market. Meanwhile, lets boldly predict that we’ll have at least a few 3.5G (HSDPA) phones on the streets of Tokyo by this time next year. Interesting times ahead, indeed. Get all the skinny after the jump!

Nintendo Goes Wild for WLAN

Nintendo Goes Wild for WLAN

Nintendo confirmed plans to set up around 1,000 wireless LAN access points to support online gaming for its dual-screen handheld DS system. The Japanese-language Nikkei Business Daily reported the Kyoto-based game giant planned to push connectivity in conjunction with the release of new online games. In a telephone call with WWJ a Nintendo spokesman confirmed that though no press release had been issued, those statements were made at a company event. Access points will reportedly be set up in game stores, electronic boutiques, etc., by the end of this year.

Sony PSP Can Even Play with Aibo!

Sony's PSP Can Even Play with Aibo!Sony’s portable PSP game machine is going mano-a-mano with Nintendo’s cool dual-screen DS for top handheld game gadget on both sides of the Pacific. Nintendo’s two 3-inch screens, touch-sensitive interaction, “Pictochat” instant messaging and WiFi connectivity to other DS machines have made a hit with players. In Japan, Nintendo just released the machine in four additional colors, packaging them with new virtual pet game, Nintendogs. Now WWJ has found out that Sony’s PSP goes one better with a trick that will make technogeeks sit up and beg — the Japanese version of the PSP apparently (and unintentionally) works electronic wizardry on Aibo the wonder ‘bot as well! Japanese entertainment weekly Famitsu put the PSP through its paces in their 15 April issue and sure enough: pressing combinations of buttons on the PSP will make Aibo do different tricks -– no hacking necessary!

PSP Running Wi-Fi for Korea

KT Corp., South Korea’s biggest fixed-line telephone and Internet operator, announced Monday an alliance with Sony Corp. to equip the Japanese electronics giant’s popular PSP console with Wi-Fi Internet access. KT said PSP customers will be able to surf the Web via the company’s 14,000 hotspots nationwide. Kang Hee-won, a spokesman at Sony Computer Entertainment Korea, added it is the first time in the world for Sony to add Wi-Fi connectivity for the PSP machines.

Potential Sony PSP Upgrades

Some Japanese PSP owners have stumbled upon what they’re referring to as a ‘dummy updater’ on an official Sony website that might give some indication to the future direction of the portable gaming platform [Windows Media video]. Among other things, streaming TV services using Sony’s LocationFree technology might be in the works, as well as less traditional additions like word processing and spreadsheet software. Would Sony’s gaming machine turn out to make a good, all-purpose mobile computing device?