Towns hoping video game tieups lure hits

Kyodo News

Some small towns have launched new types of tieups with video game producers, hoping any resultant projects will draw gamers — and their wallets — into the real world to boost local economies.

Last month, Shibu hot spa resort in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture, began an event featuring the smash hit “Monster Hunter Portable 3” after the maker, Capcom Co., found the town’s atmosphere similar to that of a fictitious village in its game.

Noriko Hasegawa, a 26-year-old video game fan from Kobe, was among those lured by the event’s concept. “I probably would not have come to this town had it not been for the event,” she said.

Capcom has already shipped 3 million units of the game since its release in December.

The Shakunagenomori botanical park in Mimata, Miyazaki Prefecture, has had a hard time keeping its shelves stocked with bottled “golden” fish eggs, a popular souvenir, since the start of a tieup with Colopl Inc. in July 2009.

Players of “Colony na Seikatsu Plus” — of which there are 1.6 million — can get special cards for the game by buying the park’s products, a designated partner of Colopl. Park head Yoshinori Ikebe said he has been “amazed” to see the enthusiasm for the game lead to strong sales.

Konami Digital Entertainment Co.’s virtual dating game “Love Plus” helped a hotel in the Atami hot spa resort in Shizuoka Prefecture attract more customers during a special event last summer, while Yunin Co. and the Hokkaido town of Yuni tried to promote specialty crops there through a video game featuring the farming business.