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Bandai Namco: Epic Games Store Exclusivity is “Not Our Vision”

Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe’s senior vice president of marketing Herve Hoerdt has confirmed the company has little interest in the Epic Games Store, mainly due to their exclusivity.

In an interview with MCV, Hoerdt discussed the Epic Games Store. While he did praise some elements of the store, he made it clear their desire for exclusivity went against Bandai Namco’s desire to make games widely available.

“It’s an opportunity to be honest, of course. We’ve been swimming in the same pool for years and this pool is made of 200m, 300m people and obviously the vision to be able to address 2bn or more tomorrow is very exciting. I think that’s also why it’s attracting a lot of money at the moment in the industry. People trust the gaming market to grow even bigger. So we see this as an opportunity and a way to address more consumers.

Having said that, we also see this as a threat, but we need to invest more. While we invest for the current generation, I think it’s no secret that there’s a new generation coming, so we need to put the money in and invest for this new generation. On top of this, for the first time in 30 years, there are streaming platforms like Google [Stadia] emerging, so we need to invest even further.

We cannot do everything and Japanese [companies] are not risk averse but we’re going slowly. So we have a full platform strategy. The main focus for us is the consumer and the brand. And for each brand we decide what’s the best way to satisfy the consumer and to engage the widest audience possible.

So for instance, I don’t see any point of putting Tekken 7 on Epic Store. Epic is just another store. It’s fantastic, they have a lot of strength and [lots of] users, the business model is attractive to us because it’s more profitable but still, their interest is, if I’m correct, exclusivity. And this is not our vision. We want our content to be available for as many fans as possible. I don’t think we’ll deal with Epic in the short term, while we have this strategy. But of course, if they’re open, we’ll go there.”

The Epic Games Store’s exclusivity has also driven away others, including Microsoft and Unfold Games with their title Darq. Wlad Marhulets, one of the game’s developers, even said “pulling the game off Steam a few days after Steam release date announcement would forever ruin the credibility of my studio.”

Hoerdt also discussed Bandai Namco’s attitude towards subscription based gaming, with similarly low desires:

“Subscriptions are more of a threat, that’s for sure. Because the business model behind subscriptions will be based on two things: the number of hours played on your game compared to the total hours people played, and the number of games played compared to the total number of games.

So, in the value chain, we see a lot of cascading and the value in the end is too low for us to be able to invest further in the content. So that’s a threat we see. But otherwise, generally speaking, it’s exciting, it’s appealing, it’s more opportunities going forwards.”

Finally, Hoerdt did have positive things to say about the prospect of streaming games. He stated Bandai Namco had several projects planned already, but with a degree of caution to see what the future could be:

“I think there’s a misconception: streaming doesn’t mean subscription. It’s not mandatory. And we’ve put some games there, we’ve made some tests, we have Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 [coming to Stadia] but we also have more projects in the pipeline. Not on the first wave, but there will be three or four waves in the coming years so we’ll have some titles then and I think this is important for us to make this bet and to see how it reacts.”

What do you think of Bandai Namco’s stance? Sound off in the comments below!

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Ryan Pearson

About

Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.