In western territories, publisher Bandai Namco is most notably known for producing niche Japanese titles. While Pac-Man, Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Dark Souls transcend this niche, Bandai Namco looks to expand even further. The intention is to grow the number of intellectual properties in the company’s portfolio. In short, the publisher wants 50% of its games to be new IP. This desire stems from many of Bandai Namco’s titles being licensed games, such as Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Sword Art Online, and Digimon.
Digital and marketing VP Hervé Hoerdt shared the publisher’s ambitions during an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
We want 50 per cent of our business to come from new IPs. Why is this? First, it’s to build a sustainable business because most of our IPs are franchises and licences. To be a sustainable business, you need to have your own IP; every publisher is building their own IP. The other thing is the IP we have are always reaching the same marketing segment, like fighting and anime, but there’s much more to do in the video game market, much bigger genres.
Last but not least, we’re an entertainment company not just a video game company. We’re looking to explore those IP in 360-degrees. This is not something we can do with a licensed franchise like Naruto. If you look at Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, we’re already a licensee. We want to create IP that we can explore in 360-degrees, like we’re doing with Little Nightmares, for example. There are a lot of things to come from this IP, and it’s no secret we’re talking with people around the world to make a movie out of it. At some point there might be other opportunities like escape rooms, and stuff like that.
Such growth also extends beyond the Japanese market. Again, Hoerdt uses 50% as a benchmark, stating that Bandai Namco hopes to have half of its games developed outside of Japan. This milestone is a distant future goal, one that should be reached “within the next decade.” In an effort to find success, Hoerdt says the business side of development meets with “more than 200 studios per year.” Thus far, these meetings have been fruitful, evidenced by studios like Dontnod Entertainment being brought aboard. The business meetings have also spawned partnerships that ensure Little Nightmares and Get Even see the light of day.
Of this, Hoerdt explains, “Dontnod is really a rising star. We can see that from what they did early on with Remember Me and more recently with Vampyr.” He continues,
We want to grow step-by-step. We’re not the sort of company to put $50m on the table to buy IP – we’re a Japanese company, so we’re slowly but surely moving [forward]. The fact that we have a strategic fit with Dontnod – we are growing, they are growing, they’ve proven they have something very strong with Life Is Strange and again with Vampyr.
Narrative, story-driven, emotional journeys are something we want to exploit. We will actually own this IP, so we hope to exploit this with a movie and so on. That’s another reason why we wanted to do this.
With Bandai Namco evidently looking to expand the business beyond gaming, we’ll have to wait and see what all of its plans with new intellectual properties entail. In the meantime, games like Soulcalibur VI, which launches this October, and Code Vein will keep fans of the publisher occupied with new releases.
Bandai Namco New IP Portfolio Should Expand to 50% Says Executive