Bandai Namco’s Gundam ‘metaverse’ dream mixes esports, Web3 and Gunpla

Bandai Namco is making some big investments in the vaguely defined idea of ​​the metaverse, and it’s starting first with what it calls the “Gundam Metaverse project.”

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

The new mid-term plan will introduce a new way to connect fans with entertainment properties by building a metaverse for each IP under the Bandai Namco Group’s portfolio, which is also used as an important part of the company’s IP-based strategies. The development will begin with the creation of “GUNDAM Metaverse”Where it becomes a platform for opportunities GUNDAM fans all over the world to meet to talk and connect in a variety of categories.

This metaverse will steadily grow to build a solid foundation as the project moves forward into the future. The first step of the meta-verse is to create virtual communities for each category and to enable connections to the categories using BANDAI NAMCO iD.

As for the Gundam-specific aspects, Bandai Namco plans to build virtual communities for aspects of fandom like 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 created 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 chart outlining how it feels these Gundam virtual communities will connect.
Photo: Bandai Namco

The first of these SIDE-G colonies will be one focusing on Gunpla, “where various Gunpla-related experiences will be made available in the virtual world.” Bandai Namco is also planning an e-sports-themed colony for 2023. Basically, the communities seem to be interesting virtual spaces to nerd out about all that Gundam has.

But 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 encourage companies other than Bandai Namco Group to join GUNDAM market and enable regular users to run C2C business using GUNDAM branded user-generated content (UGC).

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

That “GUNDAM Metaverse Project”Will build“ SIDE-G ”by launching space colonies for each available category. Bandai Namco Group will create a new financial domain to promote C2C companies with an invitation to other companies to participate in a virtual space where GUNDAM Fans all over the world can enjoy the virtual world together as part of their daily lives.

It is unclear how the mechanics of this will work, or exactly what the “user-generated content” will look like. I desperately hope it does not become NFTs, but a statement from Friday shows that Bandai Namco is at least interested in blockchain technologies. The company has launched the “Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 (Zero to One) Fund” to invest in “global startups providing entertainment-related products and services using technologies such as blockchains, VR / AR / xR, AI, etc., and is engaged in metaverse and Web3 related businesses. ”

While it remains to be seen whether the meta-verse is more than a flash-in-the-pan technology trend, Bandai Namco says it is committed to its vision for Gundam at least for the next few years. “To grow to an even greater scale after 2026, the Bandai Namco Group will promote the development of each colony with ‘Gundam Metaverse’ as a pillar of the group,” the company said in its March press release.

And Bandai Namco has only gone into detail about this Gundam metaverse; the company has a wealth of other large franchises like Pac-Man and Tekken that it could try to create new virtual worlds around it. (It also publishes Elden Ring, though I’m praying that Bandai Namco does nothing metavers-y with it. Calm the foolish ambitions.)

Many other technology and gaming companies are also rushing to bet their own claims on the meta-verse. Meta is making web and mobile versions of their Quest VR-only Horizon Worlds, the game creation tool Core is expanding from PC to Apple platforms this summer, Epic Games and Lego are collaborating on a metaverse for kids and even metaverse OG Second Life makes a renewed push by bringing back its founder as a strategic advisor. But they will all compete against Fortnite and Roblox for relevance in the virtual world.

Leave a Comment