Japan plans major esports expansion to boost economy

Mar 29 2020 2 min read

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Japan has always been known as a leader in the video games market, overflowing with industry leaders like Nintendo Co., Square Enix Holdings Co., and Sony Corporation. However, the country lags behind when it comes to esports; an industry spawned from video games. Old gambling laws proposed to protect the nation years ago wound up having a crippling effect on esports in the country.

Observing the fast growth of esports around the world, the Japanese government has made efforts to impart the same growth into their nation. Video game companies like Konami and Bandai Namco are setting up esports facilities to help improve the caliber of players in the country. There's also been particular interest in the inclusion of people with disabilities in esports, like the Gunman E-Sports Festival, Japan's first esports event for people with disabilities. 


According to a Japan Times report, the Japanese government has now formulated an ambitious plan designed to expand the esports industry on its shores. The powers that be hope to revitalize the economy and also encourage stronger social participation by people with disabilities. This lofty endeavor has a financial goal of generating ¥285 billion ($2.6 billion) by 2025.

Through strategic partnerships with companies and legal experts, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry will create guidelines for the promotion of esports in the country. Expected revenue will come from ticket sales, online viewing, corporate advertising, tournament hosting, and the procurement of equipment. Japan Time's source also stated that the country currently lacks the expertise in organizing large tournaments and dealing with a variety of legal issues on its own.

Marketing research and news service BCN Inc. have estimated Japan's esports market to grow by over 100% between 2019 (¥6.1 billion) and 2023 (¥15.3 billion), fueled by the adoption of 5G networks. 

In the quest for success, the country will need to create more favorable laws and a conducive environment to reduce the barrier of entry and ensure that all levels of play get representation across the board.


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