Bandai Namco's Gundam "metaverse" dream mixes eSport, Web3 and Gunpla

Bandai Namco’s Gundam “metaverse” dream mixes eSport, Web3 and Gunpla

Bandai Namco’s Gundam “metaverse” dream mixes eSport, Web3 and Gunpla

Bandai Namco is making large investments in the vaguely defined idea of ​​the metaverse and starts first with what it calls the “Gundam Metaverse Project”.

Here’s the summary of Bandai Namco’s broad vision of the metaverse, from a March press release. (I warn you that there is a lot of jargon ahead of you.)

The new mid-term plan will introduce a new means of connecting fans to entertainment properties by building a metaverse for each IP in the Bandai Namco Group’s portfolio, which is also used as a core part of the company’s IP-based strategies. Development will begin with the creation of the “GUNDAM Metaverse”Where it will become a platform of opportunity for GUNDAM fans around the world to come together to converse and connect in a variety of categories.

This metaverse will steadily grow to build a solid foundation as the project progresses into the future. The first step to the metaverse is to create virtual communities for each category and enable category connections through the use of BANDAI NAMCO iD.

As for the specific aspects of Gundam, Bandai Namco has plans to create virtual communities for aspects of fandom such as video games, anime, music, and Gunpla (aka Gundam model building). “These virtual communities will merge with the world of GUNDAM as the virtual spaces will be realized in the form of space colonies, which will be connected to the ‘GUNDAM Metaverse’ space hub under the name ‘SIDE-G’,” the company said.

Bandai Namco’s diagram outlining how he feels these virtual Gundam communities will connect.
Image: Bandai Namco

The first of these SIDE-G colonies will be the one centered around Gunpla, “where various Gunpla-related experiences will be made available in the virtual world.” Bandai Namco is also planning an eSports-themed colony for 2023. Basically, communities look like interesting virtual spaces to tinker with all things Gundam.

However, in the “near future,” Bandai Namco wants people to build businesses around creating Gundam-themed content. Here is the company’s description of that vision:

In the near future, Bandai Namco Group will solicit companies other than the Bandai Namco Group to join GUNDAM market and allow general users to conduct C2C activities using the GUNDAM trademark in the form of user generated content (UGC).

By building a metaverse where character rights are preserved and implementing this initiative, he expects new Gundam activities to be created and that this will lead to further expansion of the Gundam IP co-created with fans.

The “GUNDAM Metaverse Project“Will build” SIDE-G “by launching space colonies for each available category. Bandai Namco Group will create a new business domain to promote C2C activities with an invitation to other companies to join a virtual space where GUNDAM fans from all over the world can enjoy the virtual world together as part of their daily life.

It is unclear how the mechanics of this will work or exactly what “user-generated content” will look like. I desperately hope they are not NFTs, but an announcement made on Friday indicates that Bandai Namco is at least taking an interest in blockchain technologies. The company launched the “Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 (Zero to One) Fund” to invest in “global startup companies that provide entertainment-related products and services using technologies such as blockchain, VR / AR / xR, AI, etc. , and are engaged in activities related to the metaverse and the Web3 “.

While it remains to be seen whether the metaverse is more of a lightning tech trend, Bandai Namco says it is committed to its Gundam vision for at least the next few years. “To grow on an even larger scale after 2026, Bandai Namco Group will promote the development of each colony with the ‘Gundam Metaverse’ as a pillar of the Group,” the company said in its March press release.

And Bandai Namco has only delved into this Gundam metaverse; the company has a host of other huge franchises such as Pac-Man And Tekken which could try to create new virtual worlds around. (Also post Ring of the Elden, although I pray Bandai Namco doesn’t do anything metaverse with it. Silence those silly ambitions.)

Many other tech and gaming companies are also rushing to lay claim to their metaverse claims. Meta is making web and mobile versions of its Horizon Worlds Quest VR for VR only, the Core game creation tool is expanding from PC platforms to Apple platforms this summer, Epic Games and Lego are collaborating on a metaverse for kids and even metaverse OG Second life is making a renewed push by bringing back its founder as a strategic consultant. But they will all be competing Fortnite and Roblox for relevance in the virtual world.

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