A Konami esports center is being built in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese video games publisher recently held a brick-laying ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on the project. The name of the building itself will be the Konami Creative Center (KCC Ginza). With the Konami esports center, the publisher is hoping to grow esports in Japan and put it on even footing with physical sport.
The Konami esports center will be located in the Ginza district of downtown Tokyo. The building will be 12 storeys high, also featuring an underground level. The center will include an esports arena (the “eSports Ginza Studio”), a hardware store, as well as esports classes. In a statement at the ceremony, Konami president Kimihiko Higashio said: “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. Compared to eSports pioneers America and Europe, Japan has still a long way to go. However, looking from another angle, it means Japan has lots of room for growth.”
The construction of the Konami esports center is projected to finish in November 2019. This will mean the center will be open in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Higashio addressed the competition between the two mediums, “I want to show the world, from here in Ginza, that the appeal of eSports will not lose to that of real-life sports.”
Konami’s move into esports shows the company is looking to the future at a time when things look bleak for one of its most popular franchises. The latest installment in the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Survive, was not received well. The game’s performance, as well as the earlier departure of Hideo Kojima, has led to speculation Konami’s Metal Gear franchise may be set to disappear.
Konami is looking into esports at a time when many other games companies are doing the same. Epic Games recently announced details for its upcoming Fortnite World Cup 2019 tournament. While EA announced they were collaborating with FIFA for a set of FIFA 19 esports tournaments later this year.