Bandai Namco to grant $25M fund to metaverse start-ups

Bandai Namco

Bandai Namco, a Japanese gaming developer and publisher, recently announced plans to invest in the metaverse with a $25 million investment fund.

A press release issued by the company on Tuesday reported that Bandai would set up a fund worth $25 million to invest in gaming companies involved in Web3 and the metaverse over the next three years.

This was not the first time the company declared an interest in the concept. Bandai previously announced it would invest around $130 million into a plan to create a metaverse for Gundam, one of its most famous intellectual properties (IPs).

As stated in the report, the startup investment fund, referred to as the Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 Fund, is aimed at blockchain-related companies in Japan and abroad to speed up the adoption of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and encryption technology.

The entertainment-related products and service providers targeted by their investment fund include those engaged in VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and AI (artificial intelligence), among others. The fund would also be granted to Web3 and metaverse companies at different phases of growth.

To kickstart the growth of Web 3 and the metaverse ecosystem, the gaming giant has been actively initiating partnerships with some start-ups across different business sectors.

Bandai is known for owning the popular game Elden Ring. According to Yasuo Miyakawa, Bandai Namco Entertainment President, the fund is not confined exclusively to games for the time being. Other sectors of the entertainment business have also been funded as well.

Miyakawa said that the company was actively cultivating business and financial relationships with startups related to Web3 and the metaverse. He said that these efforts would create a distinct entertainment experience not seen before.

Strengthening foundation in the metaverse

Earlier this month, Bandai also announced its $130-million Gundam metaverse project. As part of the company’s plans, a metaverse for each of its IPs will be developed as a streamlined framework to allow them to connect with fans.

The gaming company said they wanted to let users access numerous entertainments on an IP axis while taking advantage of its distinctive strengths to integrate physical products and venues with digital features in this IP Metaverse.

“The new mid-term plan will introduce a new means of connecting fans to entertainment properties by building a metaverse for each IP under Bandai Namco Group’s portfolio, which is also utilized as a key part of the company’s IP based strategies,” the press release read.

“The development will begin with the creation of the ‘GUNDAM Metaverse’ where it will become a platform of opportunities for GUNDAM fans worldwide to come together to converse and connect in a variety of categories.”

Traditional gaming companies creating for metaverse

Traditional gaming companies have certainly taken notice of the rise of play-to-earn (P2E) games and the current metaverse buzz. Bandai is only the latest to get into the race in the gaming industry.

Fortnite game developer Epic Games announced Monday that they would receive $2 billion in funds to develop a metaverse. KIRKBI Investments and Sony provided funding just a week after the company declared a collaboration with LEGO to create a children-friendly metaverse.

The company behind the Assasin Creed series, Ubisoft, has also reported collaborations with The Sandbox and top play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, developed by Sky Mavis.