Onsite Report: The International Business Scene At Tokyo Game Show

Organizer:   Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA) - Tokyo Game Show 2019

Event type:   Expo / Trade Show

Event format:   In-Person # of attendees:   68,442

Event Format In-Person

# of attendees 68,442

Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is an internationally renowned exhibition in the gaming industry. EventHub was introduced to provide the business matching service for the on-premise conference.

What is Tokyo Game Show?

As one of the world’s largest gaming exhibitions, the 2019 event saw the largest number of exhibitors to date in TGS’s history with 2,417 exhibitors across  655 companies and organizations (350 from Japan and 305 from overseas). New game titles and services were announced in a wide range of genres from home video games, smartphones, PCs,  and other platforms.


The switch to EventHub doubled the matches and quadrupled the interactions! 

Our business matching service was used during the “Business Day”, which specializes in B2B exchanges and is open only to people working in the gaming industry. This was the first time that TGS switched from using a conventional business matching software to EventHub’s platform:

The number of matches made increased 224% over the previous year’s total
・The number of exchanges through chat rooms (including matches) was 391% of the previous year’s total

“B2B business negotiations were also conducted during the exhibition. The number of business negotiations settled through the renewed “TGS Business Matching System” totaled 1,496, more than double the number of the previous year. As an international exhibition that is seen as a pre-eminent source of the latest gaming news by the rest of the world, TGS has become a hub for the gaming industry.” (quote from TGS’s official announcement)

High number of meetings set and chats through Event Hub networking feature at Tokyo Game Show

Meetings were active a month in advance and surged even more just days before the event

When it comes to large-scale exhibitions with many international business meetings, it is essential to respond to multilingual inquiries. Accordingly, customer support was provided in both Japanese and English, and according to the organizing committee, even the number of matches increased dramatically, while the number of user inquiries and questions for the operations team decreased considerably compared to past exhibitions. Both International and Japanese attendees alike were able to use the service seamlessly which resulted in better results and less effort for the organizers.

On-site report

The venue overflowed with excitement. Many visitors snapped photos in front of this large billboard.

It felt like almost everyone (no exaggeration) getting off the train was headed for the exhibition site, Makuhari Messe. Direction signage and information for TGS were everywhere. The energy was contagious!

At the venue, EventHub was used in two meeting areas: one is the “Business Meeting Area,” where each exhibitor had its own table, and the other is the “Exhibitor Meeting Space,” which was a shared meeting space.

Left: signage at the venue
Right: venue map

After entering the venue we were directed to the reception desk. Once registration was complete, an attendant checked on our appointment status and guided us to the meeting location. To ensure that people without pre-reservations for a meeting table can also find a meeting space, several spare tables were also set aside.

Business Meeting Area

Each exhibitor had reserved a dedicated area for their business meetings and leveraged EventHub to facilitate their meetings.

Exhibitor’s Meeting Space

This was the shared space available to all exhibitors. Business exchanges in this area were set to 30 minutes per slot, which was the right amount of time to allow for productive and frequent meetings. Most exhibitors had set up an average of 10 business meetings with almost all tables being used during the peak hours of the day. 

Interviews with International Visitors

The Tokyo Game Show is an exhibition that not only attracts domestic Japanese companies but also many companies and participants from overseas. We had an opportunity to interview participants from all over the world!

What struck us when talking with the attendees from overseas was that, from their point of view, perhaps due to cultural differences, many Japanese attendees tend to be shy when speaking English, so there are fewer opportunities for business negotiations compared to overseas events. 

Consequently, there were ROI concerns about attending the event.  That is why the ability to interact with other companies and confirm meetings prior to the event was an important feature for international attendees.

A participant from Eastern Europe told us, “It was very easy to use! It was good to find that there is a matching system because it’s commonplace at conferences in Europe. When you travel a long way to Japan, the ROI of attending is an important concern. Our schedule was packed with confirmed meetings prior to the event, and all the parties came to the meetings well prepared.”

A participant from Hong Kong, whom we met near the entrance, was pacing back and forth between at the entrance while using the EventHub mobile app. He had actually forgotten to set a meeting location and hadn’t found the other party yet. He used the chat feature in the app to communicate with the other party and they quickly arranged a place to meet.

This was another participant from Belgium with great feedback on his experience. “About the business matching system? Of course, I use it! I can’t imagine a TGS business day without this service!”

Thank you to everyone who kindly offered feedback and allowed us to interview and photograph them!

Business matching, a requirement for fruitful international business meetings

As a result of adopting EventHub’s business matching and networking features, TGS saw 224% YoY increase in the number of successful business matches and 391% YoY increase in the number of chat room interactions, an astounding four-fold increase.

Given the immense scale of the Tokyo Game Show and the number of international attendees, the EventHub system was opened to users 40 days prior to the event. From the time the site went live the number of attendee connections and meeting requests increased rapidly, and the utilization rate far exceeded expectations. 

In conclusion, this two-day event was a reminder of the importance of one-to-one business negotiations at large-scale exhibitions and the importance of providing such opportunities for all participants through the event platform. The team at EventHub was also proud to be part of this event and we could experience how our solution created experiences that contributed to the development of the global gaming industry.

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