Monday, September 21, 2009

Is Namco About To Abandon Mobile Publishing?

Both Mobile Entertainment and are reporting this morning that Namco Bandai has it's mobile games operations in Europe under review, indicated that it may soon be assigning a distribution partner and have confirmed that there will be layoffs. This comes as a bit of surprise considering that Namco just began ramping-up their European operations in January 2008 with the appointment of industry veteran Barry O'Neill as President of Namco Bandai Networks Europe. That said all the major games publishers seem to be struggling to find solid footing in Europe, where alternative distribution channels like the App Store have had less impact than in the US and where the carriers' deck strategies have been in a constant state of upheaval. It's unclear how this might impact mobile operations in the Americas or Asia (if at all), but my guess is that if Namco decides to subcontract distribution, they'll do it everywhere outside of Japan. Also, as I reported here last month, Namco's US VP of Strategy & Planning Jason Ford recently left the company to become the Head of Games for Handmark. Hmmm.... actually Handmark would be an interesting potential distribution partner for Namco's games. Let's see how this plays out.

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