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Bandai Namco Expands U.S. Investments With New Game Startup Backing
Bandai Namco’s 021 Fund has expanded its investment portfolio with stakes in two U.S. gaming startups, Flickplay and Code Charm, as part of its strategic plan to foster innovation in the gaming industry. Despite recent challenges such as gaming layoffs and a slowdown in venture capital investments, the Japanese-based company, a division of global gaming giant Bandai Namco Entertainment, remains committed to the U.S. market and startup ecosystem.
The strategic investment aligns with Bandai Namco’s broader vision of building deep and diverse connections with fans, partners, employees, and communities globally, encapsulated by the theme “Fun for All into the Future.”
Yoyo Yang, Chief of the Corporate Planning Unit at Bandai Namco Entertainment, highlighted the company’s confidence in the U.S. as a hub for advanced technology and entertainment. Yang stated, “We invest even though the environment right now for fundraising and startups is not that good. We are committed to the community, and we continue to invest in the good companies.”
The recent investments include Flickplay, known for its innovative “phygital” platform that seamlessly integrates digital toys with real-world experiences. Users can purchase digital toys, engage in mini-games based on these toys, and even incorporate them into augmented reality content for interactive social experiences. Code Charm, on the other hand, offers Magma, a cloud-based collaboration tool designed for game developers to enhance communication and showcase their work within a thriving community.
Karim Farghaly, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America, emphasized the company’s unique approach to connecting with fans through various media, extending beyond traditional video game publishing. Farghaly stated, “This is really an extension of what we’re trying to do by striking partnerships and investing in companies that will give us an opportunity to connect with fans in a different way in the future.”
Kazuki Ikeda, Assistant Manager of the Corporate Planning Division, explained that the Flickplay platform enables users to not only purchase digital toys but also trade them with others or use them for in-store transactions. He highlighted the importance of seamlessly connecting the digital and physical realms in the evolving landscape of entertainment.
The Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 Fund’s commitment to investments that enhance community engagement aligns with its broader goal of transforming the entertainment landscape. CEO Nao Udagawa emphasized the fund’s dedication to creating a future where entertainment seamlessly integrates into people’s daily lives, bridging the gap between the physical and digital realms. The fund’s strategic moves, including previous investments in GGWP, DeepMotion, and SuperGaming, underscore its proactive stance in pursuing innovative services and technologies both domestically and internationally.
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