Recap of the TGS2023 Keynote with Valve


So today, as planned, as 11 AM Japan time, there was a keynote at the Tokyo Games Show 2023, with several members of the industry, of special interest to us as they featured two prominent members of the Valve team, Pierre-Loup Griffais (Valve, Steam Platform Engineering Team), and Erik Peterson (Valve, Steam Business Team). The two other panelists were William Yagi-Bacon (Capcom U.S.A., Inc., Senior Vice President, Digital Platforms) and Katsuhiro Harada (Bandai Namco Studios Inc., Chief Producer / Executive Game Director). Something you won’t see from the video of the keynote is that there were other members of the Valve and Komodo team (distributing the Steam Deck locally since last year) attending the event, such as Lawrence Yang and Kaci Aitchison (well known for her videos about the Steam Deck on the valve Youtube channel).

The keynote is available online now, so you can watch it in full, but I don’t recommend it unless you want to waste one hour of your time. Very little of substance was said, and you’ll see a clear summary below of what were the main points. In any case, here is the video of the keynote, with some sound issues at the beginning (looks like someone fucked up). From Valve, most of the points were raised by Erik Peterson, and unfortunately Pierre-Loup Griffais hardly commented on anything. I was expecting something more balanced, and it ended up being mostly a business status update. One of the big problems is that Valve does not share any figure, and all of their comments are purely qualitative while they sit on huge amounts of data. Anywhere, here’s the keynote below, and right after my summary.

Here’s the quick take-aways, and in bold what was the most important.

  • Valve: Steam has been growing fast in Japan over the past few years. And one is five of the top selling games on Steam is from Japan.

  • Valve: Valve is going to meet with developers in Japan to talk to publishers and developers to understand their needs.
  • Capcom: Digital sales are increasing in Japan overall, while this remains still a heavily packaging-driven market.
  • Valve: We continue doing a lot of sales because it works. Sales have become a new time to check wishlist and new titles for end users, and sales can be used to build following for franchises. Sales can expand the long tail of games. as well as online communities for multiplayer games
  • Valve: If a end user buys a first game in franchise on sale they are more likely to buy next entry in the series afterwards
  • Capcom: apparently COVID19 in Japan has been a trigger for PC gaming growth in Japan.
  • Valve: Still optimistic about growth of PC gaming in japan
  • Valve: There is network effect with increased Steam usage in Jpaan. It displays the advantages of the PC platform.
  • Valve: Focusing on Steam Deck in Japan. They will be expanding the in-stores availability of Steam Deck in Japan.
  • Valve: Steam Deck has the advantage of a PC and the easiness of use of a console
  • Valve: We will continue to make sure that all latest releases work seamlessly on the Steam Deck
  • Valve: The usage of Steam Deck at home is also very large, maybe bigger than the outside use.
  • Valve: Steam Deck brings games in living room, making it a more social experience at home than typical PC Gaming.

As you can see, it’s very light in insights. No numbers, no announcement (as I expected). The only real new thing was the fact that they will double-down on the in-store availability for Japan, which is a good thing since Japan is still very much a physical market compared to other countries.

So that’s it. A lot more coverage about the TGS2023 coming up, so stay tuned. You can check the Mastodon feed in the meantime for live coverage.