Video Game Tie-Ins Boost Local Tourism In Rural Japan

Japanese video game publishers including Capcom and Konami are helping to boost tourism in rural parts of the country by way of a series of tie-ins with their game properties in a bid to attract gamers to sight-see.
A number of small rural Japanese towns have struck up partnership deals with video game publishers, hosting events for games that have some relevance to the area in order to attract gamers and boost local tourism. Japanese newspaper The Mainichi Daily News reports a recent event hosted by Capcom in the Shibu hot spa resort in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture, chosen as the location for a Monster Hunter 3 event thanks to its similarities to the fictional town found within the game. The event attracted a large number of attendees including Noriko Hasegawa, a 26-year-old video game fan from Kobe, who said to the paper: "I may have stayed out of this town had it not been for the event." The Monster Hunter 3 event is just the latest in a slew of similar themed events held at locations around the country seen to be relevant to a particular video game. Last summer, Konami struck a deal with a hotel in the Atami hot spa resort in Shizuoka Prefecture to promote the company's virtual dating game Love Plus while Yunin Co. and the Hokkaido town of Yuni promote their specialty crops there through a farming video game. Meanwhile, The Shakunagenomori botanical park in Mimata, Miyazaki Prefecture, has seen huge spikes in attendance since striking a cross-promotional deal with Colopl Inc.'s game Colony na Seikatsu Plus. Players of the game who visit the park and buy its products can receive special cards only available at the location. Park head Yoshinori Ikebe said he has been "amazed" to see the enthusiasm for the game lead to strong sales.

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