Merged Namco to grow in Europe

06 May 2005 By Johnny Minkley
Bandai and Namco this week became the latest Japanese corporate giants to accept and embrace consolidation in the face of fierce global competition.

And one of the first effects of the $1.6 billion merger on the games sector could be Namco’s establishment as a publishing force in Europe, with a budget to sign and release titles suitable for the PAL region.

The merger of Bandai, famous for Power Rangers and Gundam, and Namco, creator of the Pac-Man, Tekken and Ridge Racer video games, will create Japan’s second largest toy and games company after Sega-Sammy Holdings, leapfrogging Konami.

“Our strength is in development and Bandai’s is in licensing and toy manufacturing,” a Namco source told MCV. “There’s no change to our day-to-day business for the foreseeable future.”

Namco currently has a small presence in Europe, with offices in London. Distribution and publishing of its software is handled by Sony (PS2-exclusive) and EA (multi-format). But in a move of necessity, sources have revealed Namco is set to follow the likes of Sega and more recently Capcom – Japanese publishers which have granted relative autonomy to Euro operations in order to source and launch product suitable for western audiences.

MCV understands that this change in status is likely to be one of the first major changes undertaken once the Bandai/Namco holding company is formed on September 29th.

A source close to the company told MCV: “The partnerships with Sony and EA won’t change dramatically – but it will move more towards pure distribution to give a higher royalty return which will then be invested into direct marketing and PR. It’s a huge thing for Namco.”

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