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Bandai Namco’s Entry Into The Global Market

Blue Protocol

Bandai Namco Aiming For The Global Market

Greetings, adventurers!  We have all been dreaming of a Blue Protocol global release. Until now, it was a dream resulting from our heavy copium overdose. But the following information from the interview with Representative Manager CEO Sekiguchi Masataka targeting the global market, gives new hope to the western playerbase!

Interview with Representative Manager CEO Sekiguchi Masataka

First of all, can you tell us about the past of Bandai Namco Online?

Bandai Namco Online was established in October 2009. It was about 4 years after the fusion of Bandai and Namco. It all started off with about a total of 20 members from both companies.

The turning point was in 2012.
With the release of “Mobile Suit Gundam Online”, we started being a genuine online game company.
After that, by landing a hit with “IDOLISH7”, the spirit of “let's create an original IP by our own hands” rose at once.

We're now at the stage of genuinely challenging the world with large-scale titles such as “GUNDAM EVOLUTION” and “BLUE PROTOCOL” under the slogan of “Japan-made online games, to the world”.

What strategies are you thinking of, to genuinely aim for the Global Market?

The three basic strategies to realize “Japan-made online games, to the world” are  “Worldwide”, “Multi-Device” and “Free to Play”.

On top of these, we have three major strategies as the pillars to our growth:

  1. The creation of original IPs
    We are aiming to create and cultivate new online IPs, which are the foundation of the IP strategy of the Bandai Namco Online Group.
  2. Metaverse
    Creating an interesting online game at first is a given, but we are also aiming to expand the online game community as a place able to deliver entertainment outside of games as well.
  3. eSports
    We are aiming to expand the fan base by involving players, streamers, and even non-players gathering around the axis of eSports.

Japan being weak in the online game genre was also a reason why we originally set up the slogan of “Japan-made online games, for the world”. We just wanted to “Get the people around the world to play Japanese online games”, this feeling was our driving force.

Within all this, is there a spirit or culture you want to maintain going forwards?

The mission to “exceed the fan's expectations” and the vision of being “a company that creates what is loved”, I guess it boils down to these two.

Fans don't just suddenly grow out of nowhere. Only by continuously creating what they love and exceeding their expectations, will we keep and get new fans.

I think that this mission and vision are the values that should always be kept as our main focus.

To achieve these, we're upholding the three paradigms “Customers first”, “Quality first”, and “Gameplay first”. Especially the third, “Gameplay first”, is the culture and main paradigm of Bandai Namco Online.

It all begins with “whether we ourselves like the contents and services”. It is hard for someone who doesn't like what they created to make someone else like it. The members of Bandai Namco Online really like games. So we have it that “game-lovers create games for game-lovers” and the frequency of play-testing is higher than at other companies, we realize “Gameplay first” naturally.

Our current mission and vision didn't exist at the time of foundation, but rather were developed together with the growth of this company. The company culture together with the amount of game-lovers formed this mission and vision. Even if the executives change, the culture everyone created won't disappear, and I think this way the continuity as an organization is higher.

CEO Sekiguchi, I heard that you yourself are also often participating in the play-testing.

I am often joining in.

My player skills aren't high, but for testing purposes, information from people on various levels are required, so I hope I am of some help. *Laughs* In a game, occupation and age don't matter, so there's not going easy on anyone. Even as CEO, I get pretty beat up. *Laughs*

Coming to the main subject, what is important for fresh graduates to enter Bandai Namco Online?

First, “loving” games and other forms of entertainment is a given.  Furthermore it is important to continue loving them when standing on the creator's side.
Although it might be difficult to imagine how it would be once one started working, I want them to question themselves about whether they would be able to keep “loving” what they make.

You often hear “once you work on what you like to do, you'll stop liking it”, but I infer that in that case, “you didn't like it at heart”.
It may sound harsh, but I want you to question yourselves now whether your “like” is really so much of a “like” that you'd want to be on the creator's side.

After having considered this, I think that for people who feel happiness from delivering what they love to other people, there's no job that's more charming than this one.
Being told that my game is “fun” is the greatest happiness to me as well, and I've experienced so many times when this single word was enough to blow all the hardships until that point away.
Creating what is “loved” by one's own hands, delivering it to people, and making them happy, I wish for all the people who can feel purely overjoyed from that to consider choosing Bandai Namco Online as their workplace.

Seeing the fresh graduate employees starting with the first generation from 2017 until now, how do you feel about the fruits of their labor?

While you're young, you learn a lot at work, and when I see the fresh graduate employees growing up fast, they make a very reliable impression and I feel happy like a parent would. Among the first generation fresh graduate employees, there is someone who is assigned as a Part Director. All the different members are fulfilling their own roles as employees of Bandai Namco Online and are working towards a big goal.
The before-mentioned mission, vision and company's policy are also partially formed as a result of the fresh graduates joining, and they greatly contributed to forming the culture at Bandai Namco Online.

For the future fresh graduate employees, even if they might be inferior to their seniors in terms of skill, I wish for them to challenge various things in the spirit of “In terms of passion, I won't lose to anyone”.

Is there something you plan to work on as an organisation for the future?

Since we indeed carry “Online” in our company name, I plan to improve the environment of working online.
Currently, we are focussing on preparing money and the supply of work devices including software to ensure that everyone can comfortably work from home. We're currently mainly focussing on remote work, but for the future, we aim for a practical work environment.

Lastly, a message to the students, please.

In online games, the main undertaking of Bandai Namco Online, especially in the shooter genre, which our company is strong in, the younger generations as yourselves are the main player base.
Aiming for a company that creates what is loved, young forces that perceive similarly to the target base are very important. Those who want to create what is loved together with us, please lend us this power of yours. We look forward to what you can create, by exceeding the expectations of the fans around the world.

Thank you for today! ...By the way, CEO Sekiguchi, what were you like back when you were a fresh graduate?

I entered Bandai (to that time) in 1995 and was assigned to a newly built research lab in Ibaraki. It wasn't clearly defined what we were supposed to do, and when I began to create a web game together with a few colleagues, it slowly became a topic and even though being on a small scale, we got it monetized.

I remember how happy I was when we got the first feedback on the game we built. Maybe the experience from the research lab back then still shows effect now. I myself also want to create a game with my own hands, but now there are many employees more talented than me, so I leave that to them and I devote myself to work as the representative.

That’s it for this time! We, the BPDB-Team hope that we could provide you with more hope for the future of the game we are all looking forward to. For more exiting news and conversations, stay tuned and join the BPDB-Discord.

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