2022 so far: if you're not being clobbered with an NFT, you're being smacked in the chops by a metaverse, and the latest company to hop aboard the latter train is Bandai Namco, which is building a £96m virtual space where customers can experience "entertainment on an IP axis".
As spotted by VGC, Bandai Namco made the announcement as part of its newly released mid-term plan spanning April 2022 to March 2025. In the document, the publisher introduces a recolour of its previously revealed new speech-bubble-inspired logo (said to express "the potential of the brand to connect with people around the world through dreams, fun and inspiration") alongside an initial outline for what it's calling its new "IP axis strategy".
This, the publisher says, is all about connecting fans and increasing the value of its properties, with the company planning to develop a metaverse - the increasingly popular, if somewhat ill-defined term for a socially focused virtual space - for each of its IPs. Each IP metaverse will then form part of an interconnected universe known as the "ALL BANDAI NAMCO concept".
"We are anticipating virtual spaces that will enable customers to enjoy a wide range of entertainment on an IP axis," it explains, "as well as frameworks that leverage Bandai Namco's distinctive strengths to fuse physical products and venues with digital elements."
While the report doesn't single out any specific IP for the metaverse treatment, Bandai Namco has a wide range of potential candidates, including Dark Souls and the upcoming Elden Ring, the Dark Pictures Anthology, Soul Calibur, the Tales series, Taiko No Tatsujin, Pac-Man and other arcade classics, plus a sizeable number of licensed manga and anime games.
"Through the IP Metaverse," the publisher continues, "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 maximise IP value over the medium to long term."
Bandai Namco says it will be spending 15 billion yen (around £96m/$130m USD) on the project - specifically to establish a "data foundation" and begin creating content for the metaverse - with the initiative said to be a major priority for the company over the next three years.