Discovering the Trends of the Japanese Game Market from TGS 2023


Tokyo Game Show 2023 (TGS 2023) was held from September 21st to 24th in Chiba, Japan. As if the event is proving that the event still has a huge influence in the industry, TGS 2023 has invited 700+ exhibitors from 44 different countries who introduced 2,200+ titles spread out in 2,682 booths. Compared to TGS in 2022, at least 400 more titles joined the event.

More than 200,000 people visited TGS 2023


As the numbers may indicate, the show did convey many interesting news to the gaming industry, such as the announcement of the winners of Japan Game Awards 2023, where CAPCOM’s Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak won the Grand Award, and the first released preview videos and breaking news for upcoming games. (Reference: Live Streaming on Youtube)

This article, then, attempts to capture the notable news that was announced during TGS 2023 and discover the trends in the market and what app or mobile game developers to keep in mind before launching in Japan.


At TGS 2023, Hike’s group company, Sarugakucho shared a survey result about Japanese mobile game users. According to Sarugakucho’s (サルガクチョウサ) Research about paid users in the mobile game market in 2023 (2023 モバイルゲーム市場における課金にまつわるユーザー調査), users who play more than 5 game titles have decreased about 10% in 2022 when compared to 2021. Sarugakucho states that it is likely that such a decrease was caused due to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns.


How to Become Users’ First or Second Pick

Sarugakucho’s research shows that fewer users are playing more than 5 game titles but more users only play one or two titles, and it indicates that it has become more competitive for games to be selected by users. Understanding such circumstances, several characteristics could be noticed among the upcoming games that received a lot of attention:

  1. Cross-platforms
  2. Remake/remastering the Hall of Famers
  3. New expansion or series to games with popular IP
  4. Create a new big title to make it the next trending IP
  5. Nostalgic graphics & game concept

Games providing cross-platform capability are universal, so it may not be a unique finding from TGS 2023, but it is an essential factor to be chosen by users as it opens up more possibilities.

Remake / Remastering the Hall of Famers

The first strategy games implemented to appeal to gamers is to remake or remaster a widely loved series of a franchise. Of course, such a trend can be seen in Activision Blizzard’s Starcraft: Remastered or World of WarCraft Classic, but it was notable that there were two big titles in TGS 2023 that are to be reborn in the near future: Final Fantasy VII (FF VII) Rebirth & Persona 3 Reload. Relying on the love of fans, FF VII Rebirth & Person 3 Reload could have been released with better graphics, but they have added more attractive elements such as new storylines or dialogues to the original, and game elements, such as a battle system, that users liked in the newer series, so that not only the fans of the series but new players can be more drawn to the games.

Left: FF 7 Rebirth | Right: P3 Reload

New expansion or series to games with popular IP

Similar to remaking/remastering previous titles, another famous pattern in TGS 2023 was to release a new expansion or series to games with popular IP. The list can be a lot longer than the titles added in the image below. Though developing a series can be a double-edged sword, it seems like games are becoming more drawn toward making a series as IP can easily make virals and draw attention from gamers.

One title worth mentioning is Dragons’ Dogma II. It has been more than 10 years since the title’s previous series, and after such a long wait, the game announced some interesting features to be added. It will provide an AI-supporter “Pawn” character which guides a path to a new legion, suggests the most effective way to clear a quest, or saves the player from danger, all within its own judgment.

AI in the game industry so far mainly supported writing NPC dialogues, creating designs, or enhancing the in-game resolution quality, but the “Pawn” in Dragon’s Dogma II indicates AI characters in the game will be more lively from now on.

Left: Dragon’s Dogma II | Right: TEKKEN 8

Create a new big title to make it the next trending IP

The patterns discussed so far only suggested a method only possible for games with popular IPs. But how about new titles that have relatively low brand power? Some game developers/publishers seem to answer that question simply: Make a new trending IP. Below is a list of notable new titles and how they are attempting to make their new games as new trends.

  1. Project Mugen: NetEase’s new action RPG game that adapted Spiderman’s web swing across in game maps
  2. Zenless Zone Zero(ZZZ): Mihoyo’s anticipated roguelike game
  3. Wuthering Waves: Genshin-like open world game, developed by Kuro Game, the developer of Punishing Gray Raven
  4. Lies of P: Neowiz developed a Soulslike game
  5. Synduality: Mech, open world PvPvE game, that has an animation series on air in Q3 of 2023 and will continue in Q1 of 2024.
  6. Blue Protocol: Bandai Namco’s Tales Series developers/designers’ new ARPG title

Left: Blue Protocol | Right: Project Mugen

Left: ZZZ Booth | Right: Wuthering Waves

The list only includes the upcoming titles from the big, renowned game groups, such as Mihoyo, NetEase, Neowiz, and Bandai Namco, so one may say that making an IP is only for conglomerates of the game industry. It is true it is relatively hard for smaller companies to come up with epic, graphically high-end games, but as the next paragraph may suggest, it does not always have to be a grand, open world, or high-end graphic to attract gamers.

Dot Graphic Games & Nostalgic Game Concept

One of the characteristics of the games exhibited in TGS 2023 was the dot graphic, which tends to be more so for relatively smaller game groups and indie games. Yet making dot graphics-based games means more than just because they take fewer resources. They can bring players memories of good ole days, as many of the dot games in TGS 2023 recall game concepts that were popular in the past.

  1. Sword of Convallaria: XD Network’s new SPRG title, adapted the game concept of Tactics Ogre
  2. Black Finger Jet: Kohachi Studio’s belt-scroll action game, developed and designed by the team who created Metal Slug
  3. Sanabi: Neowiz’s new belt-scroll action game that has a chain-arm game element which is an homage to the Worms series (or Bionic Command: Top Secret as some users commented on YouTube)

This list can be a longer one, too, but these three seem to have the clearest homage to the games that were popular in the past. In any case, dot graphics and nostalgic game concepts can be a good way to begin a new trend and make an IP that becomes players’ next favorite.


There were 787 exhibitors, 2,682 booths, and 2,291 titles from 44 countries. Compared to 2022, there were about 400 more titles this year. As so, it is hard to jot down a certain genre, theme, or element of games that will be trending in the upcoming year.

On top of this, the Japanese game users play fewer titles as COVID-19 dies out. This represents that the game market in Japan is getting more competitive and will be tougher for a game to be their first pick, especially as mobile-only playable games. How can a mobile game survive in a harsh market then? What this article talked about may become a hint: paying attention to what users have been willing to pay for whether it is relying on a popular IP, appealing a new big title, or bringing a good memory.

For Your Information

Below are the TGS 2023’s official 7 trends, so take a look at them to find more insights:

TOKYO GAME SHOW 2023 7 Trends

1. Technological Innovation with AR/VR

2. New Release games from Big Players like Sega/Capcom/Square Enix so on

3. Gaming PC and Movie streaming devices are diversified

4. Lots of Indie Games are more popular than before.

5. Game Academy focuses on the niche market according to user trends

6. eSports is a major event

7. Game is not a hobby but a lifestyle

Share Post:

Stay Connected

More Updates


Keyword Optimization
Creative Optimization
Review Optimization