While the ‘metaverse’ – conventionally a network of virtual worlds often accessed through VR or AR – is a pretty old concept, for investors in big tech firms it’s apparently a new, innovative one which is about to change our lives. As a result tech CEOs around the world can’t say the term fast enough in their presentations and briefings. It’s easy to be cynical, though the end result could — in theory — bring us some fun content in the future. The latest company planning to jump in is Bandai Namco, which has announced major investment in its own project.
In a presentation this week the company presented its ‘IP Axis Strategy’ (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz); the plan outlines a $130 million investment to drive engagement and growth for the company’s brands.
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.
Bandai Namco’s business is performing well – with an operating profit of ¥92.1 billion ($799 million) through Q3 this year – though a major goal is to boost its popularity and revenues outside of Japan. It’s publishing FromSoftware’s The Elden Ring later this month, too, which looks likely to be a major sales success globally.
The form of an IP Metaverse could be a number of things, of course – online platforms where fans can interact and play across franchises could be a Fortnite-style game or something more focused on social interaction. It could be based on virtual or augmented reality if it’s aiming for a literal approach to the metaverse term. As with all moves like this Bandai Namco will likely have to carefully gauge fan mood in terms of what technologies and approaches it follows.
Bandai Namco does have a lot of franchises with large fanbases in its catalogue, of course, so the project arguably has big potential. Let us know what you think, as always, in the comments.