Japanese video game publisher expands to mobile

January 17, 2013 7:53:34 PM PST
First, it was the arcade and then the living room, but now, the most likely place to find video games is on your cellphone. It means companies that make those games have to adapt. ABC7 News found out, one big name game publisher from Japan is doing just that.

Namco Bandai spokesman Dennis Lee is played Ni No Kuni -- a game that'll hit stores on Jan. 22nd. If it looks a lot like Japanese animation, that's because it is.

"Studio Jibli, they are an animation studio out of Japan. They're kind of known as kind of the Disney of Japan," said Lee.

For game publisher Namco Bandai, it's a match made in heaven. They have a wildly popular style of movie to broaden the appeal of an older style of game: a role-playing game.

"Which typically has been a more niche audience for the role playing games, as far as video games go, and they've layered it with a story and with characters that really appeal to everybody," said Lee.

Ni No Kuni runs on Sony's PlayStation 3, which has been around for six years. Unlike a P.C. consoles can get better as they get older.

"As consoles mature through time, developers learn to develop games better and better on them," said Nick O'Leary, a Namco Bandai spokesperson.

But the game developers know not everyone's going to go out and buy a PlayStation. So as they're working to keep the video game crowd excited, they're also focusing their efforts on the mobile crowd.

Tekken card tournament takes a 17-year-old fighting game franchise, into the world of casual cell phone gaming. It's for the players who grew up playing Tekken, but don't have as much spare time as they used to.

"You can get in there, you can play a match, it takes about two minutes to play a match," said O'Leary.

The game is free to download, but better if you buy the collectible trading cards, that activate an augmented reality feature bringing characters to life through your smartphone's camera. The phone's been heralded as the future of gaming, but Namco Bandai's still banking on the console. Gaming on the phone is sort of a gateway drug.

"And then as you get more versed with playing games, picking up that console controller is kind of like the next step," said Lee.


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