Bandai Namco’s Gundam ‘Metaverse’ Dream Combines Esports, Web3 and Gunpla

Bandai Namco invests heavily in the loosely defined idea of ​​the metaverse, and it starts first with what it calls the “Gundam Metaverse Project”.

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

The new mid-term plan introduces a new way to connect fans with entertainment venues by creating a metaverse for each IP in Bandai Namco Group’s portfolio, which is also used as a key part of the company’s IP-based strategies. The development will start with the establishment of the “GUNDAM Metaverse” where it will become a platform of opportunity for GUNDAM fans around the world to come together to talk and connect in various categories.

This metaverse will grow steadily to build a solid foundation as the project moves forward into the future. The first step in the metaverse is to create virtual communities for each category and enable category logins using the BANDAI NAMCO ID.

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

Bandai Namco’s diagram outlining how it thinks these virtual Gundam communities will connect.
Photo: Bandai Namco

The first of these SIDE-G settlements will be 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 seem like cool virtual spaces to experience all things Gundam.

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

In the near future, the Bandai Namco Group will encourage non-Bandai Namco Group companies to join the GUNDAM market and enables general users to perform C2C ​​activities using the GUNDAM marking in the form of User Generated Content (UGC).

By building a metaverse that preserves the rights of the characters and by implementing this initiative, he expects new Gundam companies to emerge and lead to another expansion of Gundam IP in co-creation with fans.

the “GUNDAM Metaverse Projectwill build “SIDE-G” by launching space colonies for each available category. Bandai Namco Group will create a new economic area to promote C2C companies by inviting 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 life.

It’s unclear how the mechanics of this will work or what exactly the “user-generated content” will look like. I sincerely hope it won’t be NFT, but an announcement on Friday indicates that Bandai Namco is at least somewhat interested in blockchain technologies. The company launched the “Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 (Zero to One) Fund” to invest in “global startups providing entertainment-related products and services utilizing technologies such as blockchains, VR/AR/xR, AI, etc. engaged in metaverse and web-related companies3”.

While it remains to be seen whether the Metaverse is anything more than a flash-in-the-pan tech trend, Bandai Namco says it’s committed to its Gundam vision for at least the next few years. “In order to develop on an even larger scale after 2026, the 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 only went into detail about this Gundam metaverse; the company owns a large number of other major franchises such as Pac man and to draw that he could try to create new virtual worlds around. (He also publishes Ring of Elden, although I pray Bandai Namco doesn’t do anything strange with it. Leave those foolish ambitions alone.)

Many other technology and gaming companies are also rushing to claim their own rights to the metaverse. Meta is making web and mobile versions of its Horizon Worlds-only Quest VR, game-making tool Core is expanding from PC to Apple platforms this summer, Epic Games and Lego are teaming up on a metaverse for kids, and even the OG metaverse. second Life renews its momentum by bringing its founder back as a strategic advisor. But they will all fight against fortnite and Roblox for its relevance in the virtual world.

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