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Compared to previous iterations, the kickoff to BitSummit, the independent games festival held annually in Kyoto, was a quiet affair.

As I wandered through the doors of Kyoto’s Miyako Messe convention center on Sept. 2, I noticed that exhibitors and volunteers were still setting up stalls, with many booths unstaffed and developers instead joining online via the video chat and messaging platform Discord. It was 10 a.m., and the throng of public attendees seen in years past was noticeably absent.

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