Officials from Namco America have announced the formation of Namco Networks America, a new subsidiary of the video game publisher and developer dedicated purely to mobile phone games and content.
The new company will be led by Kenji Hisatsune, currently the executive vice president and COO of Namco America, who will become president, CEO and COO of Namco Networks when it begins operations on January 1st, operating under newly merged parent company Namco Bandai Holdings (USA).
In addition to versions of classic Namco titles such as Pac-Man
, Dig Dug
, the company is also planning to provide video game sounds and images, including wallpaper and ringtones – presumably also based on prominent Namco and Bandai properties. "We are looking forward to expanding our business offerings to allow for growth and opportunity in all aspects of the mobile and networks industry," Hisatsune said.
Like many Japanese publishers, Namco is seeing considerable growth potential in expanding its business into the mobile phone market, which is considerably more advanced in terms of technology and penetration in Japan than in North America, but is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. as more advanced, game-capable phones swiftly roll out. In fact, a recent Ziff Davis study
revealed that, in 2005, 27.9 million North American households have cell phones that can play games, compared with 2004's 16.3 million.
Indeed, many Japanese companies are putting ever more emphasis on mobile content worldwide, with Square Enix’s recent purchase of Taito partly influenced by its interest in the market
and even Nintendo recently taking its first steps
as a mobile phone content provider, licensing sound and graphics related to the Super Mario
series to the major Japanese phone networks.