Since the App Store launch in 2008, Namco and now Namco Bandai Games has published over 100 apps. The company was there at launch with Ms. Pac-Man (and Pac-Man) and continues to be there today with both favorite franchises and new properties. We took a few moments to speak with Alex Adjadj, the Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America, Inc.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed the way Namco Bandai does business?
Alex Adjadj, Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America Inc.: The video games industry is currently going through challenges on different fronts. Hardware transition on the console side. Exponential user and device fragmentation as well as standardization of development tools and fast growing marketing costs on the mobile side. It’s exciting, challenging and requires more attention to planning and execution.
The App Store has accelerated and accentuated these challenges. When it comes to a major publisher with thousands of employees, it’s always a bigger challenge because of the scale involved. But Namco Bandai Games knows mobile well, and has started doing mobile games with Apple back to the early days of the iPod Click Wheel (remember PAC-MAN?). It’s been great to have had their support to improve the quality and market relevance of our creations along those years.
148Apps: If you have one single success within Namco you’d like to highlight from the past five years on the App Store, what would it be?
Alex Adjadj: We’ve had highs and lows. As I said, for a bigger publisher it’s just a question of more time, more planning, more investment, more internal communication. But there’s one thing that only a very few other publishers have today, it’s market knowledge and capacity to increase product development and segmentation without compromising on quality. In 2008, we were all about cost-conscious developments, with most of our releases being good ports, but also not taking full advantage of the iOS platform and hardware at the time. Fast forward 2013, we’ve got universal games that play well on iPad and iPhone, that are visually extraordinary thanks to Retina Display, that are fun to play with friends on Game Center, and that offer great value for money for gamers willing to pay or play for free.
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence the path of Namco Bandai five years ago, what would you say?
Alex Adjadj: Actually I personally did contribute back in the summer of 2009 by further evangelizing in Europe and the US teams about the benefits of bringing dedicated products rather than ports to App Store. It changed a lot of perceptions back then, especially since we were still strongly driven by our feature phone business in overseas (i.e. Non-Japan) territories.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of Namco Bandai, that has surprised you most?
Alex Adjadj: It’s been a challenging, but a logical and relentless organic evolution. Apple has changed the world of digital content distribution and mobile gaming by annihilating barriers to entry, cutting a lot of (often, but not always, useless and costly) middle ‘men.’ By imposing its own standards, it has accelerated the growth of a young mobile video games industry, it has made it possible for the unveiling of incredibly successful and clever small production houses, and changed the perception of mobile gaming with the masses. My biggest surprises are the very little opposition Apple have faced from pre-existing market entrants, the incredible success it went through and the time it took for their competitors to come up with relevant hardware and retail ecosystems.
148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Alex Adjadj: Personally, I can perceive further device fragmentation in the iOS hardware line – very similar to what’s going on with Android right now. Device fragmentation will increase differences in usage and accordingly product & genre segmentation, a bit like what the iPad has done in terms of ‘console quality gaming for mobile.’ Following smartphone penetration growth in emerging markets, I also see further challenges to properly address consumers around the world, in terms of UX, billing, the relevance of content offering and the risk, already present, of content saturation and chart stagnation. I see 3 ways where this might go: first Apple might need to customize their App Store UI a bit differently per region, so that non-local publishers still get a chance to, at least, show their best content in new markets, without occurring prohibitive production costs. The second route must be to introduce more flexible billing routes so that all users can pay for content the way it fits their spending culture. The third, though unlikely given Apple’s necessary but very tight control on its ecosystem, would be to allow the ‘best’ publishers to get more control of how their content offering is tailored to end users.
Alex Adjadj wishes to add the following disclaimer: Mr. Adjadj speaks of his personal experience and opinions, and while being a full time employee of Namco Bandai Games America Inc., Namco Networks America Inc. and Namco Bandai Networks Europe since 2006, this article isn’t meant to be read as general consensus across other divisions of Bandai Namco Holdings. Alex is currently Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America Inc., San Jose, California.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 16th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
If you like aerial combat, you probably already have Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. If so, then you’ll be able to grab the update today, which brings up to four player multiplayer to the AirPlay option for split screen goodness on the big TV in your living room. The game also has 12 new levels, putting you up against new drones, carriers, and UFOs. How cool is that?
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on September 21st, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Namco Bandai is putting their action shooter game on sale for a limited time. Grab it now and save two bucks. Our reviewer liked it, so you might, too!
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy sets a new standard for mobile gaming, taking full advantage of the iPhone 5’s 4-inch retina display for a full widescreen gaming experience, while the faster A6 chip also allows for faster, better and even more thrilling combat engagements than ever before. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, which made its debut during Apple’s March keynote for the new iPad, immerses players in a variety of console-quality, detailed environments, complete with weather effects and an advanced particle system. Flying a variety of modern advanced aircraft, players will lose themselves in the aerial action as bullets hit their plane, rain blurs their windshield, and the sound of chaos surrounds them. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy features six single player game modes, including an extensive 10 mission campaign.
A couple of weeks back Namco Bandai released a game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 by the name of Inversion. While the game never really received a huge amount of press, the crux of the title was that the player had the ability to shift, or in this case invert, gravity, in order to manipulate the environment and gain an advantage over enemies.
Around the same time, The Inversion Project shot its way onto iOS. This free-to-play facsimile of the console game’s universe was primarily aimed to increase the public’s awareness of the full release. On top of that, this third person shooter acts to help gamers familiarize themselves with some of the core mechanic of the world. Check out this gameplay video to get a better idea of what is in store.
For a completely free title, it looks like there are at least some innovative gameplay ideas at work. For that price, you can afford to roll the dice and check it out. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.
One of three non-Apple apps, and the only game, showcased at the unveiling of the 3rd generation iPad, NAMCO BANDAI’s Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy impresses hard-core and more casual gamers with incredible console-quality graphics and intense aerial action. Last week the first update was rolled out, packed with goodies for fans and reasons to entice new players to pick up this sleek air combat title.
We raved about the multiplayer options when we first reviewedAir Supremacy and now it’s been expanded to 10 online players up from eight. There are also three new playable planes and 17 new achievements. There are head-to-head matches against friends via Game Center and a rematch option for online multiplayer games. If one owns an earlier title in the franchise, Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory, one new aircraft is unlocked with this update, along with some minor enhancements and bug fixes.
The game has been wowing users and critics alike, not only with console-like visuals but with amazing gameplay and lots of small touches that make this one of the most immersive experiences on iPhone or iPad. If one’s looking to the future of iOS gaming it’s definitely the time to take Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy for a test flight.
Classic arcade game Dig Dug is 30 years old, so what better way to celebrate that than with a sale? That’s exactly what Namco Bandai has decided to do, with a selection of their iOS titles on sale from now until March 12.
New and old alike feature in the sale with classic titles such as Pac-Man Remix and birthday boy Dig Dug Remix featuring alongside newer titles such as Time Crisis: 2nd Strike and Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion. Most games are reduced for between $1 and $2 but some substantial discounts are available with Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion, Ridge Racer Accelerated and Time Crisis: 2nd Strike all benefiting from discounts of over $4. It’s an ideal time to go mad and buy plenty of retro delights.
Out of the extensive selection, I recommend Pac-Man: Championship Edition and Galaga Remix, in particular, but the full list is available below.
NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. recently launched TANK BATTALION BLITZ for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In the action game players create a deck of tanks in order to obliterate their enemies. However, they must defend their own headquarters in the process. The game features 130 stages, more than 150 tanks, several game modes and local and online multiplayer through Game Center. The tanks have been digitally recreated from real World War 2-era machines. While the common vehicles can be collected for free, premium and rare tanks can only be attained through in-app purchase, but are essential to conquering tough missions throughout the game.
In the main TANK TANK BATTALION mode, players must complete a variety of treacherous missions by themselves, while in TEAM BATTLE mode they can team up to overtake the competition. Coming soon is TANK BATTALION BOSS mode, which puts the players directly in harm’s way with the task of challenging the massive boss tanks. For those not wanting to wait for the upcoming update, there is plenty of action in the 4-player local and online multiplayer modes for both cooperative and competitive gameplay. The game is available now for $2.99 on the App Store.
Remember April Fool’s day 2010? ThinkGeek showcased a retro-fied iPad cabinet, complete with 70’s Mork-suspender’s striping as a gag. Well, the laugh was short-lived, as the product took hold and became a top seller. At CES 2012, as we reported, ION AUDIO, who make the real product, announced a new line-up of iOS gear including a line of streamlined iPad controllers with the same arcade style 8-point joystick and 8 buttons, and for the small iOS screens, a controller-case that most resembles the PSP.
But, as 148apps writer Jenifer Allen pointed out in her coverage of the Gametel Controller: There’s “no use [for add-on controllers] without good software support.”
Like many, I’ve been holding out for one very special arcade classic that screams joystick like no other: NAMCO BANDAI’s PAC-MAN for iPad. Actually I’m lying, I really want Ms PAC-MAN, which if the product shot from ION’s press release is any indication is coming soon, but I’ll more likely consider ponying up for just the little male yellow chomper. And now he and his ghostly nemeses are officially iCade compatible.
In the press release Fred Galpern, Brand Manager, at ION says. “It’s thrilling to add Pac-Man to the list of iCADE compatible games … adding this beloved classic is truly exciting.” Thrilling may be overstatement, but if this signals a general alliance with NAMCO BANDAI, and other old-school gamehouses, the exuberance on ION’s part, and mine, is well founded.
One of the greatest perils of writing over Halloween is figuring out a fantastic and humorous way of introducing another seasonal sale. I’ll admit it, I’ve failed this time round. Readers may have enjoyed the spooky tales of Sega’s ‘Screamtastic’ Sale and the trick or treatastic explanation of Gameloft’s sale, but I’m all out of cheesy jokes or puns. When it comes to the Namco Bandai sale, readers are just going to have to be hooked by the fantastic discounts on many titles!
There’s a cerebral theme going on with many of the discounts. I guess it’s because zombies love brains (ah ha, there’s the Halloween joke!). Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima has benefited from a price drop of 50% making it a mere $0.99. Isaac Newton’s Gravity is also only $0.99 on the iPhone with the iPad version offering a 50% discount on in-app purchases. More in-app purchases reductions are available with puzzling delight House of Glass
Strategy gamers will love that Buccaneer Blitz is a mere $0.99 for the Universal app, and it’s a fine title indeed scoring an impressive 4.5 stars from us last year. While, Hidden Object gaming fans get the fun of Mishap for only $1.99 instead of $4.99.
Rounding off the sale is enjoyable physics game The Mooniacs and relaxing Pterodactyl flying game Fossil Feast, both reduced to $0.99, down from $1.99.
Happy Halloween and enjoy feasting upon these great discounts.
Is it just me or is World War I a rather forgotten war in terms of games based upon it? While we’re overwhelmed by so many games focused on World War II, the Great War of 1914-1918 gets left behind. Probably nobody wants to experience trench warfare on the scale that was seen back then though so I guess that’s why the main safe ground for World War I games is that of aerial combat, which is where Namco Bandai’s latest title plays a prominant role.
Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory is set for release later this month for both iPhone and iPad. It’s an attractive looking air combat simulator that looks like an entertaining mix of authenticity and arcade-like combat maneuvers.
To add the authentic touch, players will be able to choose from 10 World War I planes while participating in 12 single player missions that promise realism and plenty of detail in keeping with the reality behind the conflict. Namco Bandai also promise that missions will be varied with the likes of attack runs and reconnaissance playing equally important roles while continually testing the player’s skill at manouevring and attacking the enemy. Besides the single player campaign, there should be plenty to do with 100 Dogfight missions as well as a custom game feature. 18 different landscapes will keep appearances looking fresh and exciting.
Comprehensive multiplayer functionality will also be provided with online 8 player multiplayer and numerous game modes. Free for all combat is on offer as well as Team Deathmatch, Defend the Base and Capture the Flag all with a mixture of competitive and co-operative play available.
Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory is set for release later this September priced at $4.99 for an Universal app. For now, take a look at the impressive screenshots below. We’ll be sure to keep up to date on all the latest developments for the game.
Namco Bandai has dished out some intriguing and free delights to the app store.
First up is the rather charming Toss the Ball. Remember all those happy times at the carnival or fair desperately trying to toss the ball into the highest scoring holes? This is exactly that but without the fixed nature that the funfair games always seemed to offer. The free game offers four different game modes in the form of Rolling Race, Ball of Time, Chill Mode and a Multiplayer mode too. Five game boards can also be played on including the Speedy Board and Lover Board amongst others. Different balls can also be used such as the Treasure Ball and Ninja Ball plus there’s a whole bunch of power-ups and bonuses that can be used to increase scores.
Toss the Ball is free to play with extra content available for a small fee of $0.99 via an in-app purchase but there’s plenty to do here anyway. The title also promises daily bonuses too as well as up to six player multiplayer locally or up to 4 players via GameCenter.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-08-04 :: Category: Games
Also today marks the release of Pac’N Twit, a Pac-Man themed Twitter client. Pac’N Twit promises to perform all the basic Twitter functions like viewing timelines, replying, viewing direct messages and editing lists. Search functions also exist happily here along with a push notification system and full compatibility with multiple accounts. For the Galaga fan, there are also two skins based around the classic retro game as well as Pac-Man. Plus there’s a form of puzzle game bundled in too in order of winning iPhone wallpaper.
For the Twitter user looking for something a bit more memorable than standard Twitter apps, this is a great way of interacting with others. Pac’N Twit is a free app for iPhone 3GS and above devices.
Spring is in the air, and Namco Bandai is celebrating with a sale. From Friday, May 6 through Monday, May 9, take advantage of markdowns on some of the company’s biggest iOS games. Below is a full list of games that will be on sale but please note that some or all games may only be on sale within the US iTunes store.