TGS - Tokyo Game Show 2006 to be biggest yet

The E3 show in the U.S. may be scaling back but this year's Tokyo Game Show is set to be the biggest yet, according to show organizers.

The E3 show in the U.S. may be scaling back but this year's Tokyo Game Show is set to be the biggest yet, according to show organizers.

The event, highlighting Japan's computer games industry, is scheduled to take place from Sept. 22 to 24 and already 143 exhibitors have booked 1,710 booth units, the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA) said. That beats last year's 131 exhibitors and 1,433 booth units.

While exhibitor numbers are expected to rise, the number of visitors is predicted to fall. The event attracted 176,000 people last year but for 2006 the CESA is expecting 160,000 people to attend. No explanation was given for the decrease.

To accommodate the extra demand the organizers have expanded to show to fill eight halls at the Makuhari Messe exhibition center in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

The event will begin with a keynote speech by Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment. Kutaragi will outline the PlayStation 3, which is scheduled to launch in Japan just under two months after the Tokyo Game Show. Sony has yet to confirm if playable versions of PlayStation 3 software will be available at the exhibition, but it seems likely given its proximity to the console's launch.

The expanding Tokyo Game Show is in contrast to its North American equivalent, E3, which is set to get radically smaller in 2007. Organizers of the show said this week that next year's event will be refocused and consist of press events and small meetings with media, retail, development and other sectors of the industry.

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Martyn Williams

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