Bandai Namco Investing $182 Million Into New Metaverse Project

Bandai Namco Investing $182 Million Into New Metaverse Project
Image: Bandai Namco

More metaverse news, and this time Bandai Namco is involved.

Japanese video gamer publisher Bandai Namco is reportedly working on a new project that merges multiple IPs into a shared ‘metaverse’. This news comes as part of Bandai Namco’s mid-term plan document that spans April 2022 to March 2025. The document covers an initial outline for its ‘IP axis strategy’, which alludes to the publisher’s ‘IP Metaverse’ plans.

Bandai Namco states that they will be investing ¥15 billion (AUD $182 million) into the metaverse project, which could see characters and settings from IPs like Dark Souls and Elden Ring come together in one shared spot. The section of the document regarding the metaverse reads:

Bandai Namco will develop a metaverse for each IP as a new framework for connecting with fans. In this IP Metaverse, we are anticipating virtual spaces that will enable customers to enjoy a wide range of entertainment on an IP axis, as well as frameworks that leverage Bandai Namco’s distinctive strengths to fuse physical products and venues with digital elements. We are aiming for open frameworks that provide venues for connections with and among fans and business partners.

Through the IP Metaverse, we will establish communities among Bandai Namco and fans, as well as among fans themselves. Through these communities and content, we will build deep, broad, multifaceted connections that continue for long periods of time, and we will focus on the quality of those connections. In this way, we will work to maximize IP value over the medium to long term.

To advance development, we will collect IP information so that we can provide a variety of information to fans, develop content that leverages Bandai Namco’s distinctive strengths by fusing physical and digital elements, and build communities that will be venues for connections with and among fans and business partners.

In my opinion? This sounds like a better use of the ‘metaverse’ concept than what we’ve seen in recent news, but is essentially a reskinning on something that already exists. It’s important to note that the concept of a ‘metaverse’, as Nintendo echoed, doesn’t really have a specific definition that works for everybody. If anything, the different iterations of what we know as ‘metaverses’ range from VR Chat-type situations to people inventing the internet forum again and thinking it’s a novel idea that’s never been heard of.

On its own, the ‘metaverse’ really has no direct connection to cryptocurrency and NFTs. Toontown is a metaverse. The Something Awful forums could’ve become a metaverse if they lasted long enough. IMVU is a hyper-horny metaverse. The co-opting of the metaverse concept by Facebo- sorry I mean Meta, definitely muddied the name and conceptualised it into a whole new beast. However, metaverses have really always existed and the new technologies available in the current era just make them more accessible for companies to build off of.

It’s a buzzword for something that already exists, but this time it’s more financially viable to companies like Bandai Namco than ever.

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