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Report: Bandai Namco To Launch JP Mobile Game Device

According to a report from Japanese website Nikkei Net Interactive, newly merged game publisher and toy/animation firm Bandai Namco is teaming with cellphone carrier Will...
According to a report from Japanese website Nikkei Net Interactive, newly merged game publisher and toy/animation firm Bandai Namco is teaming with cellphone carrier Willcom, and planning a new Japanese child-oriented cellphone service which includes significant game-related content and hardware. Although details are thus far scarce, it's believed that the Japanese-only hardware and software/service will includes Bandai Namco-developed titles, but still retain core cellphone and data transmission functionality. Previously, Willcom has released data-oriented handhelds such as Sharp's W-Zero 3 Pocket PC (pictured) on its network, which includes the 'Air-Edge' high-speed 1 megabit cellphone-based data service, as well as the 'α-DATA64' 64kbps service, meaning that it is possible that Bandai Namco's games could be entirely downloaded or rented from the network, as is currently common with Japanese cellphones. Bandai Namco has recently reported that it cut its profit forecast by 55 percent to 11 billion yen ($93.7 million) for the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with the previous forecast for 24.4 billion yen ($208 million), particularly citing a less strong presence on the Nintendo DS in terms of its software presence. However, the company has previously dabbled in the handheld hardware arena with its WonderSwan console, co-created by ex-Nintendo veteran Gunpei Yokoi, which launched in 1999 in Japan. Though the WonderSwan went through several hardware iterations, including Color and WonderSwan Crystal iterations, it never received widespread support even in Japan, and was discontinued in 2003. Even so, it seems that, as well as supporting existing handhelds, Bandai Namco is keen to leverage its handheld aspirations in other areas as it looks to expand.

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