Bandai Namco, one of the biggest video game publishers in the world, is planning to spend 15 billion yen (about $130 Million) on creating a Gundam-themed metaverse. The “Mobile Suit Gundam Metaverse” aims to put an interesting twist on the franchise to give fans a unique and amazing experience.
GUNDAM – BANDAI NAMCO’S ICONIC IP
For those of you who don’t know what Gundam is, here’s an explanation. “Gundam” is a Japanese sci-fi/military fiction series with characters who pilot large robots in different settings. The series stretches across a wide variety of media, including anime, video games, comics, and even live action films.
According to titlemax.com, the Gundam franchise is among the top 25 highest revenue generating franchises of all time. It has earned Bandai Namco over $25 billion in profits over the years. Productive and iconic franchises like Gundam created many different streams of revenue to grow and diversify income over the years.
Gundam started as an animated TV show in the late 1970s and has become a giant success since. Gundam has since grown to encompass medi and entertainment assets across animated films, live action films, video games, comics (manga), and more.
In addition, they’ve broken into the toy and kit-building market, selling mecha (robot) building kits of all shapes and sizes. Bandai Namco generates a lot of money from these physical kits, which expand upon the already successful animated series.
FROM GAMES AND TV TO THE METAVERSE
It’s clear that the owners and creators of the Gundam franchise branched out from their animated series origins to capitalize on an amazing brand. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that they’re willing to try their hand at creating a metaverse.
According to coinquora.com, Bandai Namco will create a metaverse with Gundam characters and mechas. They alluded to this announcement in February, but only made it official at the beginning of March.
The move to the metaverse is also partly due to COVID-induced supply chain issues and physical store shutdowns.
Bandai Namco hopes to have a wide variety of activities available in their metaverse, including videos, live music, games, arcades, and more. They even plan to implement a real-time translation service, so metaverse users from around the world can enjoy the content together.
Whats more is that some of these activities and metaverse components will even be connected to physical, real-life locations. They’re going to do this in hopes of creating a seamless virtual and physical marketplace for Gundam merchandise.
GUNDAM AND THE METAVERSE – AN IDEAL COMBO
A Gundam metaverse has a lot of creative and lucrative potential. As mentioned before, Gundam makes a lot of their revenue by selling physical kits of their Gundam character robots. Some of these kits are limited edition kits, meaning that they’re not made anymore and can fetch high prices as collectibles.
According to comicbook.com, the most expensive Gundam kit that exists is the “PG 1/60 RX-78-2 Gundam Gold Version”, with only 30 kits in existence. These are valued at an impressive US$9,000 per kit.
This means that Gundam has an avid fan base who are enthusiastic about collectibles and “limited edition” content. It only makes sense that this brand would branch into NFTs, which often represent digital collectibles that give a unique sense of ownership to their holders.
In short, it’s highly probable that Bandai Namco may incorporate NFTs into their metaverse in a similar fashion to selling their physical kits.
After all, this isn’t the first time that Bandai Namco has done NFTs. Bandai Namco worked with avatar creation startup Genies to launch a PAC-MAN themed NFT earlier last year. One could say that metaverses and NFTs go hand-in-hand, so it might mean that a Gundam NFT launch is close by.
AN INTERESTING FUTURE FOR THE GUNDAM FRANCHISE
Bandai Namco hopes that this new Gundam metaverse will revolutionize the way that fans interact with their favorite franchises. According to asia.nikkei.com, Bandai Namco wants to take the Gundam series and launch it into future digital markets.
“[The Gundam Metaverse will be] a mechanism for us to be more deeply connected with fans,” said Masaru Kawaguchi, the president of Bandai Namco. He also added that the company wants to establish metaverses for its other brands in the future, saying “It will become possible to connect intellectual property-specific metaverses in the future”.
Bandai Namco is predicting an astounding profit of $1 Billion and sales of $8 Billion in fiscal year 2024, more than 30% up from fiscal year 2021 expectations in both categories. The metaverse will start contributing to Bandai Namco’s profits in fiscal 2025, according to their predictions.
Company metaverses have become one of the biggest “Wild West” investments in the last few years. Although profit from creating a metaverse isn’t guaranteed, Bandai Namco appears to be quite committed to creating a seamless experience for their fans. If the Gundam metaverse ends up being successful, one can expect the same treatment for Bandai Namco’s other big-name IPs.