Bandai Namco Entertainment is expanding its mobile gaming division by creating a new company dedicated exclusively to the mobile platform: Bandai Namco Mobile. The new studio will be based in Barcelona, Spain, where it will open its doors in 2020. They will be hiring in the “coming months.”
The company selected Barcelona as their new location not only for its beauty, but because it’s “the hotbed for international video game development and home to the best talent the mobile industry has to offer,” according to Bandai Namco COO Tatsuya Kubota, who’s part of the new studio’s leadership team. Bandai Namco Mobile’s leadership team also includes Naoki Katashima, the CEO of Bandai Namco Entertainment’s European and American businesses. Katashima is optimistic about the move, as it will “allow [them] to react better to market tendencies and create higher quality content at a faster pace.” Bandai Namco Entertainment’s games will reach Western audiences more easily and quickly, the team hopes, especially because they’ll be closer to Western companies they may collaborate with.
Bandai Namco’s current mobile gaming portfolio includes games based on popular anime franchises, such as Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing, Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle, and Sword Art Online: Memory Defrag, in addition to a plethora of Pac-Man titles—arguably Bandai Namco’s most iconic franchise. Their English website currently lists 11 mobile titles. With this new company devoted solely to mobile gaming, this roster should be expanding quite a bit.
This announcement comes days after news broke that Bandai Namco’s upcoming PC MMO RPG Blue Protocol won’t be coming to the West any time soon. The admin of the Blue Protocol subreddit reportedly heard Bandai Namco has “no plans for a western release.” Though this isn’t a mobile title, it’s a good example of why Bandai Namco’s decision to expand mobile gaming development to the West will save any future mobile titles from similar fates of region exclusivity or delayed international releases.