Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bandai, Namco joining forces to tackle game software market

The Asahi Shimbun 05/03/2005

Toys are teaming up with video arcades in the global slugfest of game console software. Bandai, the nation's top toy manufacturer, and Namco Ltd., an arcade game maker, announced Monday they will jointly form a holding company this autumn.

Namco Bandai Holdings Inc., to be established on Sept. 29, will aim to develop software for next-generation game consoles. To that end, Bandai and Namco will reorganize their operations under the holding company.

Through the realignment, the two companies aim to accelerate development of videogame software, drawing on Bandai's popular characters and Namco's software development capabilities.

Bandai is a powerhouse in developing characters such as the Mobile Suit Gundam anime figure.
Its hit toy products also include the Tamagotchi electronic pocket pet.

Namco's expertise lies in development of Pac-Man and other commercial arcade games. "We will speed up the fusion of (Bandai's) content and (Namco's) technology, forecasting what will be hot in the world markets," the holding company's future chairman, Kyushiro Takagi, told a news conference on Monday.

Takagi currently serves as Namco's vice chairman.

Sales of the holding company are projected at 460 billion yen for the year through March 2006.
That level would make it Japan's second largest game software producer after the Nintendo Co. group, according to game-related publisher Enterbrain Inc.

For the year through March 2004, Bandai's consolidated sales were about 263 billion yen and Namco's were about 173 billion yen.

Later this month, three industry giants-Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Nintendo and Microsoft Corp. of the United States-are scheduled to announce details of next-generation machines.

Bandai will receive 1.5 shares in the holding company for one of its own shares. Namco's swap will be one to one.

Bandai President Takeo Takasu will become president of Namco Bandai Holdings.

Prior to management integration, Kazunori Ueno, a Bandai managing director, will replace Takasu as president, and Takasu will become chairman.

(IHT/Asahi: May 3,2005)


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