A Japanese gaming superpower could be on the cards, after it emerged last night that Namco is keen to re-open merger talks with Sega.
Sega apparently rejected an initial approach at the tail end of last year, but Namco appears to be determined to push forward with discussion. A Namco spokesman commented: "We are certain that consolidation of the two companies' operations in every business field would bring about maximum synergy effects."
But with curious use of capital letters, Sega Europe offered the following response this morning "Sega has confirmed that it is in discussion with Namco with regards to merger. Sega is still in ongoing discussion with Sammy Corporation with regards to possible merger.
"No decisions have been made regarding either opportunity. As far as SOE is concerned there is no impact to our business and Sega Europe remains unaffected," the statement concluded. Poor old Sega Europe. No sooner does it try and re-establish itself as a European force again, and the uncertainty of merger talks ring around its offices. The devil vomits in its kettle. Again.
Although Sega's statement is more enlightening than the flat "no comment" we normally get in these situations, and proof - if it were needed - that there's some serious consolidation on the cards in gaming land, it leaves plenty of question marks.
If a Sega-Namco marriage were to take place, it would create a company with an annual turnover of 350 billion yen (£1.86 billion), placing it just behind Square Enix in fifth place in the Japanese market, but what of its ongoing Sammy deal?
Sammy was reportedly aiming to merge with Sega by October, but at the time of writing, the company has remained tight lipped.
In gaming terms, a Sega-Namco deal would certainly be an interesting proposition. Although Namco's influence has been somewhat on the slide, it still has plenty of established brands; namely Ridge Racer, Soul Calibur, Tekken, Time Crisis, Pac-Man, and to a lesser extent Klonoa, Dead To Rights and a huge back catalogue to potentially revitalise and reinvent.
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