Gundam is big business. As are esports. And now, Bandai Namco is eager to get further in on that sweet, sweet professional gaming.
During this week’s first annual Gundam Conference in Tokyo (via 4Gamer), Bandai Namco’s Chief Gundam Officer Koji Fujiwara discussed the future of the mecha franchise and how to strengthen it. There were an array of examples, with some of the measures including Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s live-action Gundam for Netflix, as well as erecting giant Gundam statues and opening Gundam retail shops.
All these are ways to reach fans in Japan and around the world. Some ways are more tangible than the soft power the series wields. Earlier this spring, for example, a one-to-one scale Freedom Gundam went up in Shanghai. The 59-foot statue was the first official one-to-one scale Mobile Suit to go up in China.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On, which debuted at arcades in 2010 (minus the Maxi Boost On update), has already made the leap to esports. The PS4 game, for example, will even be included in an Evo 2021 side tournament. But even so, the franchise still seems so underutilized on this front.
Gundam with its global popularity makes the series prime fodder for an esports expansion. What’s been missing has been a concerted effort in making moves into that realm. No wonder that from here on out, Bandai Namco wants to focus on the North American esports scene. This is why the company is currently developing a new Gundam title with esports in mind. A presentation slide read in English, “Another esports tournament” and “New game coming soon.” I wonder what the game will be like...
Fujiwara did not give any further details about the in-development game, but added, “Please wait for a follow-up report.” Okay, noted!