Taipei Game Show 2023 Review

Contributed by DJMMT

This year, I went to Taipei Game Show for the first time since 2019. Due to the pandemic, I avoided attending the event for the last three years. Even this year I was reluctant, but I decided that at some point you have to choose to enjoy life where you can. I love Taipei Game Show, and I’m glad that I was able to return this year. That being said, it seems much of the industry didn’t follow my lead.

In the past years that I’ve attended, Taipei Game Show has always been a solid gaming convention. It might not get the popularity and attention that other shows like Tokyo Game Show and Paris Games Week get, but as someone who has attended at least four times, as well as been to conventions like Gamescom, I can say that Taipei Game Show has always been a show worth attending. Especially if you live in Asia, like I do. While I would still say that this year was respectable, it certainly did not live up to past years.

My judgment of the show being lesser is not a subjective opinion. It’s an objective fact. Just by looking at the attendees, and more importantly those brands that didn’t attend, we can clearly see that the show, while still deserving of praise, hasn’t managed to fully bounce back from the pandemic yet. And honestly, that’s probably true for the industry as a whole.

In past years, three of the biggest third-party publishers at Taipei Game Show have always been Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, and Sega. These three brands would always come to the show with huge booths and impressive displays. The reason I listed them in that order is because it’s in order from largest, most impressive booth to smallest. Bandai Namco was king. They would spend a ton of money on their booth. One year, they had a life-sized Gundam head. This year, they didn’t even have a booth. The only thing I saw from them this year was Dragon Ball FighterZ on a single laptop at the XBOX Game Pass booth.

Taipei Game Show 2019 Ubisoft Booth

Similarly, Ubisoft usually does a huge booth. I’m used to seeing an entire stage dedicated to Just Dance, plus other large sections for upcoming games. They weren’t even there in spirit. I didn’t see a single Ubisoft game at the show. Now, we could assume that this was because they decided it wasn’t worth investing in Taipei Game Show due to low turnout expectations, because of the pandemic. But this could also be that Ubisoft just didn’t want to show anything right now. They just delayed multiple big projects, have been getting killed in the media recently over Skull & Bones, and don’t have anything big coming before the next big show. Since it would be a total waste of money just to show up with Just Dance 2023, it’s possible they skipped the convention for reasons that have nothing to do with the show itself.

I was genuinely shocked not to see Sega there this year. I expected to see Like a Dragon: Ishin!, since it comes out this month. They usually have a decent sized booth with lots of stuff, including Japanese titles that get little attention in the west. But they weren’t there either. Nintendo surprisingly was there, but not really. I say surprisingly, because usually Nintendo doesn’t attend directly. They just have lots of games being shown on Nintendo hardware by other booths. This year, they had a small booth in collaboration with a local game store chain, which I frequently buy from, but the only games they were showing were Switch Sports, on one screen, and Splatoon 3. Why even show up just to present games that have been out for a while? What really irritated me was that they had a poster for Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon but weren’t actually showing the game.

XBOX Game Pass was there with one of the most impressive, non-mobile gaming, booths at the show. This is worth mentioning, because usually they don’t even come. XBOX, the console, has basically no presence in Asia. Sometimes they have a few posters, but no actual attendance at the event. This year, they had a decent sized booth, effective signage, and lots of games to try out. That being said, only two of the games were new unreleased titles that people actually care about. To be clear, this was not an XBOX booth. This was a booth specifically dedicated to XBOX Game Pass for PC. There were no XBOX consoles present. All the games on display were running on laptops. They were showing a large collection of different games to show all the options for PC gaming XBOX now offers. It was an effective booth for Taipei Game Show, as PC gaming is much stronger in Asia than XBOX consoles will ever hope to be. This was a smart direction for the company to take at this show. I’m confident at least one person signed up for Game Pass for PC because of their booth at this show.

The game I was most excited to try at the XBOX booth was Lies of P. To my surprise, they had it hidden at the backside of the booth on just two laptops. It was only because I had a Press badge that one of their team members approached me and offered me the ability to try it. The other unreleased game they were showing was Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, but Koei Tecmo had their own much larger booth that featured that same game prominently. That was the first booth I visited and the first game I played at the show.

PlayStation had a booth this year, which is normal, but it was a hollow shell of the brand’s former glory at the show. Usually they have an entire section of the hall with 30 or more screens to try lots of upcoming games, plus a giant stage for presenting. This year they had like eight screens and a shop. And those eight screens were split between Forspoken and Street Fighter VI. Why they decided to feature a game that was already out and reviewing poorly is beyond me. But even if it was reviewing well, I’d still say it was a waste. They might as well have done Wo Long Fallen Dynasty.

There was a solid indie presence at the show this year. But it was depressing to see so much of the indie offerings being focused on mobile gaming. As has always been the case, the mobile offerings at Taipei Game Show dwarf the console gaming, both in volume and money spent of booths. But it was way more apparent this year. Overall, I still consider this to have been a good show, and I’m glad that I attended. But it’s very clear that the gaming convention landscape has not bounced back since Covid started. And with the way things are looking for E3 2023, there’s a chance it never will.

XPG Terrence

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