In a recent financial statement meeting, Namco revealed its future business strategies and a number of planned titles. Much like a number of its competitors, Namco plans to focus on the overseas market, especially Europe and North America. The number of titles scheduled for release this year in Europe will double, from nine last year to 18 this year. While the number of titles scheduled for release in the US will increase from 12 to 21, Namco estimates that its income from North American sales will not significantly change, since the standard software prices are shifting from $49 to $39.
Namco aims to become one of the top five game publishers in the world. Noting that the sales of major release titles and the sales other games are significantly different, Namco said that it plans to release new games in the Soul Calibur and Ridge Racer series on a more consistent basis. Namco commented that it would like to release new games in those series every two years, but it is currently taking the company three years due to its current development structure. In order to strengthen its software development, Namco plans to increase the number of employees from 817 to 1,204 by 2004 (this includes employees in Namco's subsidiaries). To reduce risks, developers will first be signed as contract workers and later hired as official employees if they are found to be useful.
Namco is planning a number of major releases for 2004. New games in the Tekken series, Ace Combat series, and Tales series are planned for release, as is a sequel to Dead to Rights. Namco plans to release a number of new projects in 2004 as well--a new major RPG, an action adventure game using character(s) from a popular Namco title, a new action fighting game, a new drag racing game, a non-baseball sports game, and an online MMORPG are in the works.