Konami is building a massive esports tower in Tokyo

The Pro Evolution Soccer publisher says the center will help raise Japan's profile in international esports.

Konami, who you may remember as the one-time developer behind the Metal Gear Solid series, is constructing a tower in Tokyo that will serve as a multi-functional esports center.

The 12-storey building is going up in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district. Siliconera reports that the tower will be called the Konami Creative Center and will house a state-of-the-art esports arena, areas for esports coaching and instruction, and a retail store dedicated to selling esports peripherals and other products.

Construction on the tower is set to wrap up in November, which as Kyodo observes will be in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

“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,” Konami president Kimihiko Higashio said during the center’s brick-laying ceremony, as quoted in Siliconera’s story. “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.”

Naturally, the easy joke to make here would be to say something snarky about Konami’s ugly break-up with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima three years ago, but it’s hardly relevant to the topic of esports.

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Konami is still producing the Pro Evolution Soccer series after all, and in any event, anyone with sufficiently deep pockets is free to get into esports promoting. And that’s apparently Konami’s goal here – it specifically wants to raise Japan’s profile in international esports competition, and to raise the profile of esports as a valid form of competition.

“I want to show the world, from here in Ginza, that the appeal of esports will not lose to that of real-life sports,” Higashio said.