DeNA and Namco Bandai just announced their new joint venture called BDNA Inc. to produce social games for smartphones and tablets. Things are set to kickstart October 1 with Namco throwing down close to 75M yen and DeNA 25M. More after the jump.
Shin Unozawa, EVP at Namco Bandai will be in charge of BDNA and the board of directors will be joined by the likes of Hirotaka Reizei, division manager of the production division at Namco Bandai, and Isao Moriyasu, president and representative director of DeNA.
This is a great time for Namco Bandai to pursue such partnerships, recently having posted a 3 month period of increased profitability due to worldwide game sales and other revenues. The content division saw revenues jump from 8 percent a year ago to 35.6B Yen (~$694M) and the net sales for Namco Bandai were up 7.7 percent to 88B Yen, with 2.35 Billion Yen in Profits. Namco also sold 622,000 units of Nintendo 3DS based software but sees the real potential in social mobile gaming on smartphones.
DeNA has officially launched its Mobage platform (app available on Android devices from the Android marketplace) in US with reportedly 55M users (thanks to ngmoco’s established user base) and is opening it up to certain developers. DeNA’s focus on Asia also remains strong as it recently established a new subsidiary in South East Asia with the goal of partnering with game developers in that region and even acquiring some of them. The new subsidiary has a capitalization of 500,000 Singapore dollars (about $410,000)
“Southeast and South Asia are full of entrepreneurial talent and have huge growth potential. DeNA Asia will serve as local developers’ gateway to the global market and bring unprecedented monetization opportunities by enabling them to deliver social games across borders and devices.”
Alliances such as these aren’t new for DeNA. In April of this year DeNA linked up with Docomo, one of Japan’s leading mobile operators with over 60M customers in Japan using its 3G network. Docomo has a mobile Web portal called i-mode that works on feature phones on primarily but also has close to 6M smartphone users that the 2 companies agreed would get access to a dedicated, pre-installed Mobage app . In addition the partnership would offer users new content and privileges as well as direct billing capabilities courtesy of Docomo.
With native device wars in full effect, it remains to be seen how Facebook’s Project Spartan and Google’s seemingly vertical strategy will come to support and attract various developers, especially as the lines between social and mobile continue to thin.