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Bandai Namco Online faces insolvency post-Blue Protocol launch

The publisher's live-service and MMO-specific studio was already losing money, and 2023's launch of Blue Protocol may have exacerbated that team's issues.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 25, 2024

1 Min Read
Key art for 2023's Blue Protocol from Bandai Namco Online.
Image via Bandai Namco Online.

The online game-focused subsidiary of Bandai Namco reportedly hit a net loss of 8.201 billion yen (or $51.35 million) during the 2023-2024 fiscal year. As spotted by Automaton, the increasingly negative net income has led to the developer becoming insolvent.

Bandai Namco Online specializes in MMO and live-service titles for the publisher, such as Gundam Evolution (which went offline in late 2023) and Blue Protocol.

This studio was already in the negative for the 2022-2023 period, and at the time saw a reported net loss of 3.98 billion yen. Back in February, Bandai Namco called its 2023-2024 earnings "disappointing" for the third quarter, and indicated Blue Protocol contributed to that loss.

Currently, the free-to-play MMO is playable solely in Japan, with a wider release expected later this year (and published by Amazon Games). While it opened to 600,000 players in Japan, the game's presence appears to have diminished in the full year since its launch.

Per GameBiz, the issues with Bandai Namco Online may stem from ballooning development costs. The outlet attributed those costs to studios scrapping and remaking projects, in turn bringing the budget to "unexpected levels."

That said, Bandai Namco as a company ended the 2023-2024 fiscal year with its highest net sales to date of 1.050.2 million yen. But it's unclear what it'll do about its Online studio or Blue Protocol and its eventual launch outside of Japan.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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