Namco Bandai integrates US game, network divisions

Publisher merging operations of traditional gaming, casual and mobile businesses; CEO plans to emphasize networked offerings, cross-platform functionality.

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While Namco Bandai Games America and Namco Networks America operate independently as the publisher's US traditional gaming and casual/mobile divisions, gamers often don't draw much of a distinction between the two. Soon there won't be any reason to, as Namco Bandai announced today that it will integrate the two businesses over the coming months under the Namco Bandai Games America label.

Namco Bandai hasn't been shy about bringing its big franchises to new platforms.
Namco Bandai hasn't been shy about bringing its big franchises to new platforms.

Speaking to GameSpot about the change, Namco Networks president, CEO, and COO Kenji Hisatsune said the two businesses will combine their respective expertise in the packaged retail and downloadable spaces to bolster each other's efforts. When the integration of Namco Bandai Games America and Namco Networks is completed (expected by the end of March, 2011), Hisatsune will serve as the outfit's president and CEO.

"We really see this as a win for gamers and our audience as there will be greater synergy between our traditional console, mobile and casual products moving forward," Hitsune said. "Also there will be a greater emphasis placed on networked products as we strive to build continuity in our products. Our goal with this being that if you play one of our games on device 'A,' you'll be able to pick up the game on console 'B' at the same point you last left it."

Hitsune also stressed that social network capabilities are now "a must" for games regardless of platform and said the company will continue to create mobile games that appeal to wide audiences, including traditional gamers, bringing franchises like Ace Combat, Ridge Racer, and Noby Noby Boy to bear on mobile platforms.

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