Konami has joined a growing list of video game companies that are expanding into the esports arena. A report by Kyodo (via Siliconera) has revealed that the Metal Gear Solid publisher is building an esports center in Ginza, downtown Tokyo, which will be called the Konami Creative Center (KCC Ginza).
KCC Ginza will feature 12 floors, and the latest audio, video, and communication technologies. Construction is expected to be completed by November 2019.
“The people who participate in esports will, in the future, stand side by side with those participating in real-life sports like soccer, or even surpass them,” said Konami president Kimihiko Higashio during the building’s brick-laying ceremony. “Compared to esports pioneers America and Europe, Japan still has a long way to go. However, looking from another angle, it means Japan has lots of room for growth.”
KCC Ginza will also host esports classes to increase awareness and help budding players. A dedicated shop housed within the building will sell relevant equipment and products.
“I want to show the world, from here in Ginza, that the appeal of esports will not lose to that of real-life sports,” added Higashio.
Konami’s move follows Square Enix’s 2017 announcement of venturing into the esports business. The company said that esports viewership has significantly grown over the years, making it a lucrative investment.
“Once the size of gaming spectatorship grows, gaming itself will gain value as a form of media,” Square Enix wrote in its annual report for 2017. “This conversion of gaming into a form of media is proceeding rapidly. We also have a great deal of interest in this field and intend to proactively work to turn it into an actual business.”
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Konami Esports Business to Expand With New Esports Center in Tokyo