Namco Bandai is a six billion dollar corporation that’s been around since 2006. It makes video games and toys. On Windows Phone, they’re best known for titles like Flight Control, Puzzle Quest and the chaotic but awesome I Love Katamari.
We met with Namco Bandai’s Alex Adjadj recently to talk about the company’s success on Nokia phones.
Nokia has been what Alex calls “an obvious partner” for the company since the days of the first nGage.
More recently, it’s been the Asha platform that has received the most attention. Last July, we reported that 22 new games had been launched by the publisher for the platform.
It’s sometimes quite easy to underestimate the size of the market for more basic mobile phones, but to take one region, Latin America, 80 per cent of the phones in circulation aren’t smart. And apps for these phones make up over 50 per cent of the company’s revenues for the region.
Nokia has actively aided Namco Bandai in its marketing efforts. It has created gift and theme packs, and other promotions. In some cases, a selection of free games are preloaded onto the phone.
Alex notes that the phones don’t necessarily need to be the most powerful in the portfolio to deliver great experiences.
“One of our key titles is Pacman. [Originally created by Namco for arcade machines 33 years ago!]. There are more and less fancy versions of the game, but the core experience, what it means to ‘play Pacman’, can be delivered across the board.
“It remains a terrific game experience. We can deliver great value for money. And people across the world have enormous fondness for the title.”
Not an easy game to play
But Alex says that the mobile games economy has some serious issues.
“Five years ago, there were maybe a couple of thousand mobile games in total. Now there are over 200,000. That makes it really hard to discover new games. Most people just stick to the top 20 charts. That’s very unhealthy.”
“So it means we have to work harder. We have to work with manufacturers and retailers to get higher up their agenda. We also have to push ourselves to take our games to new markets, such as China.
“Nokia’s international reach has been really helpful with this.”