Tokyo, one of the largest megalopolis in the world and host to the 2020 Olympics, is launching its first city-funded eSports tournament in the same year. Ironically, the city that boasts the strongest fighting game players in the world may not be able to prove much of their strength because of the genre's sheer nature.
Earlier this month, the City of Tokyo unveiled details to to its first annual Tokyo eSports Fest
which covers competitive titles from both console and smartphones. The event will take place next year in January 11-12 at the Tokyo Big Site, a perfect location considering its massive size. The tournament is still in planning stages but general concepts and requirements by the city are already solid.
Candidate titles for Tokyo eSports Fest
require to match certain criteria, such as i/ being fair and competitive, and ii/ to have proven performance in domestic and international tournaments. Fighting games adhere to most of the requirements but they fail when it comes to age restriction: Simply put, they are too violent for the city-sponsored tournament. Games for Tokyo eSports Fest
require a rating of CERO A, whereas most fighting games including Street Fighter V and Guilty Gear are CERO B and higher. Only a small fraction of titles stand immune to this, which include Smash Bros Ultimate, Dragon Ball Fighterz, and Splatoon.
Also worth noting is that the tournament is meant for promoting domestic titles; games like Leagues of Legends will not be eligible since they are not from Japanese companies.
While this tournament will take place in a city with high professional player population, ironically the Pro-gaming licenses issued by JESU will have no meaning since there will be no monetary prizes.
Given that Tokyo can have strong influences on Japan as a whole since the city serves as both the country's political capital and economic centre, it remains to be seen whether being featured at this tournament will influence other government related eSport decisions in the future, such as games that schools will choose for their eSport activities.
Typical crowd at Comiket
The city is currently in process of recruiting and reviewing for a company to run this event which comes as a 47 million yen contract ($440 thousand). The event will take place in the Tokyo Big Site's newly constructed south hall, which will have its first mass-event at this summer's Comiket.
[Prerequisites for candidate titles]Titles for the tournament are required to-
1- come from a domestic IP holder
2- have past performances in domestic and international tournaments
3- have clear rules, must be fair and competitive
4- be able to bring in a crowd
5- at least one title in the selected for the tournaments must be playable regardless of age or gender
6- console games must be rated CERO A, smartphones must be 3+ or 4+
Tokyo photo from Zekkei Japan