Namco America announced today the formation of Namco Networks America, a mobile-dedicated subsidiary, to begin operations on January 1, 2006. The group will operate under parent company Namco Bandai Holdings (USA). Namco America is itself a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Namco Limited.
Strong Mobile Presence
Current Namco America vice president and COO Kenji Hisatsune will serve as President, CEO and COO of Namco Networks.
"The mobile games industry is thriving, and the establishment of Namco Networks shows our dedication to the mobile and network industry," Hisatsune said. "Through quality titles, strong partnerships and revenue growth, we have created a reputation of excellence, a reputation which is maintained by our team of dedicated professionals."
Namco has been an early mover and shaker in the mobile space in both the U.S. and Japan. The company's first American mobile titles were offered in 2002, well before most console publishers had gotten involved.
Namco has enjoyed solid mobile growth since its expansion into the market, primarily with mobile releases of retro catalogue titles such as Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug. The company noted that Sprint PCS recently announced that Ms. Pac-Man has received over 1 million downloads on its network alone. The game also remained on Verizon's Top Ten Get it Now games for six straight months.
This kind of success isn't that surprising, though; Namco's catalogue IP seem to be a perfect fit for the mobile platform. "Arcade classics dominate mobile revenue in general, and they make up the majority of our revenue," Scott Rubin, VP of Sales and Marketing, Namco America, told Modojo in an article posted on GameDAILY BIZ. "Pac-Man was the #1 mobile title two years ago, and it's still the #1 title today. It's almost as if the game was made for mobile -- just up, down, left, right. Galaga and Dig-Dug translated equally as well to the mobile medium."
Namco America's mobile philosophy will likely be extended with the formation of a dedicated mobile subsidiary next year.
"Namco America has become a leader in the North American mobile entertainment market," said Tadashi Fukumoto, Vice President of CX/WMC of Namco LTD based in Japan. "We are fully committed to the mobile content industry."
Better Aligned for Future Growth
Namco stated that the impetus for the reorganization was a desire to better prepare for and facilitate further mobile growth. Other Namco IP such as Ridge Racer and Time Crisis are both set for release in the near future. The company also intends to offer video game sounds and images for use in personalized ringtones and wallpaper.
"...We believe the formation of Namco Networks will enable us to further succeed in the growing mobile market," Fukumoto said.
"We are looking forward to expanding our business offerings to allow for growth and opportunity in all aspects of the mobile and networks industry," Hisatsune said.