Bandai Namco announces plans to use the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise to establish itself within the virtual world of the Metaverse.
Bandai Namco is dropping a colony’s worth of cash to bring Gundam to the Metaverse.
As reported by Nikkei Asia, the Japanese toy and media conglomerate announced that it plans to spend 15 billion yen (about $130 million USD) bringing the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise to the Metaverse. Like many other companies’ Metaverse projects, details on the specifics about this virtual Gundam space are somewhat vague; Bandai Namco says it will use the Metaverse to broadcast Gundam-themed concerts, host online games and sell more of its popular Gunpla model kits. The company also stated that its Gundam Metaverse will be linked in some way with real-world arcades and hobby shops.
“[The Gundam Metaverse will be] a mechanism for us to be more deeply connected with fans,” stated Bandai Namco President Masaru Kawaguchi. Kawaguchi also hinted that the company’s costly Gundam investment is merely the first step in a larger push towards the Metaverse, and suggested that Bandai Namco is already planning to bring more properties from its massive stable of popular anime and video game franchises to the networked virtual world. “It will become possible to connect intellectual property-specific metaverses in the future,” Kawaguchi said.
The Metaverse has become the tech industry’s favorite buzzword in recent years: Facebook rebranded itself as Meta in order to show their new focus towards the virtual network, and Microsoft specifically mentioned that it was trying to acquire third-party video game publisher Activision-Blizzard in order to expand its own efforts to break into the Metaverse. In simple terms, the “Metaverse” refers to a now mostly hypothetical successor to the current internet, where users will be able to socialize, work, play and shop all within an interconnected virtual reality-based world. Many in the tech industry are pushing it as the immersive future of the media consumption and communication, while its detractors have pointed out the massive technical hurdles that stand in the way of the Metaverse’s full realization and question if the concept actually offers any meaningful advantages over current methods of doing those same activities.
Bandai Namco recently announced a company-wide restructuring that saw Sunrise, the celebrated animation studio that’s produced the Gundam anime for over 40 years, merge with the corporation’s other animation-focuses subsidiaries to create a new studio, Bandai Namco Filmworks. One of the newly consolidated studio’s first releases will be the next movie in the mecha franchise, Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island, which will premiere in real-world theaters in Japan this June.
Source: Nikkei Asia
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Michael is one of CBR’s Anime News Editors, a Link main in Smash Bros. and also once tried to eat 100 tacos in one sitting (he got to around thirty before tapping out.) After working as a copy editor for an ad agency and a music label for a number of years, he has now decided to pursue a career focused on a subject he is truly passionate about: giant robots and the sad people who pilot them.