This week in Weekly Famitsu, Namco Bandai Games CEO, Shin Unozawa sat down to discuss the company's 2011 performance, and some plans for the future.
Despite a shaky start last year, Namco Bandai managed to pull in massive sales totaling ¥440 billion by the end of the fiscal year. Most surprising, Unozawa pointed out, were the numbers for social games. Initially venturing into the untested waters and even offering free content, even if it resulted in increased sales was a foreign concept. "It felt very strange." Unozawa remarked.
As for the future, aside from further expansion into the mobile arena, Unohzawa talked about "Hybrid Discs," Blu-ray discs with both game and video content to allow fans to enjoy certain IP on different levels. For Namco Bandai, a company that owns a whole lot of IP ripe for both animation and games, this is ideal not only from a sales point, but from a creative point as well. "There's a divide between anime creators and game creators, and the two rarely mix." Unomzawa explained. "For us, we invest and sponsor and licence both sides equally. By putting both products in the same package with Hybrid Discs, it lets them realise they're sharing the business."
Hybrid Discs allow for much creative interaction, such as allowing the player to watch a movie while playing a video game at the same time so that the player can experience a single scene from different viewpoints.
Namco Bandai has already begun releasing movie/game hybrid packs and more are on the way.