Japan Amusement Expo 2021 cancelled

The latest in the seemingly endless series of events shut down by the coronavirus, the Japan Amusement Expo, due to take place next February, has been cancelled. It’s currently unclear whether some kind of online variant will take its place.

The arcade industry’s equivalent of the Tokyo Game Show, The Japan Amusement Expo is a trade fair where many top Japanese arcade games, from the likes of Bandai Namco and Konami, have made their debut.

The Japan Amusement Industry Association (JAIA) says it came to the decision after discussions with the 36 companies that participated in 2020’s expo.

Given how difficult it would be for attendees to try out arcade cabinets in a safe and socially distanced manner, the announcement comes as no surprise.

A statement in the JAIA Press gave more details on their reasoning

  • It is hard to think that the novel coronavirus will subside by February 2021, and it is also extremely unclear whether an exhibition event with an uncertain amount of visitors from both inside and outside Japan can be held.
  • Even if the event were to be held, it would be required to conduct thorough measures to prevent the infection from spreading in the venue—including gathering contact information from all visitors. That would increase the cost burden both physically and financially.
  • There are more companies which answered that they won’t be able to attend, compared to those that are able to. Reasons for the unavailability include prioritizing the safety of their employees and customers, being unable to prepare exhibit machines, and deciding that now is not the right time to hold such an event.
  • Even if the event were to be held with only the available companies, it would only result in around 100 booth spaces; less than one-fifth of the 509 booth spaces in JAEPO 2020.

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