Bandai Namco Entertainment announced in its February 2021 financial report that it is appointing a new President. The leadership change arrives as the company prepares to undergo a major restructuring that will merge its gaming unit with its toy unit.
Masaru Kawaguchi will lead the corporation as its new President and Representative Director. He originally joined Bandai Co Ltd. in 1983, shortly before the company began pushing toy products called Gobots in the U.S. to compete with Transformers toys. Kawaguchi continued to climb ranks in the company and became a key leader after its 2006 merge with Namco. He became president of Bandai in 2015, and in 2020 became the Vice President of the entire company. He will take the top position in April.
Starting April 1, the company will begin the process of reorganizing its five operating units into three. That includes merging its Toy and Hobby Unit with its Network Entertainment Unit, the division that encompasses Bandai Namco's gaming team. The company disclosed in its February 2021 financial report that the restructuring is taking place to begin a new strategic direction. The company is also combining its Visual and Music Production Unit with its IP Creation Unit to create the new IP Production Unit.
The changes arrive just after the European Commission fined Bandai Namco and five other video game companies a collective amount of $9.5 million for anti-competitive practices. The Commission said the companies agreed to block games from being playable outside of certain EU territories and prevented people in EU countries from using Steam Keys purchased in a different EU country. The Commission said this was in violation of the European Union’s anti-trust laws.
Bandai Namco owns several popular video game franchises, including Pac-Man, Tekken, Soul Caliber and Dark Souls. The company is the third-largest video game company in Japan in terms of revenue, behind industry giants Sony and Nintendo. Bandai Namco also owns the rights to several well-known Japanese media franchises, which include Dragon Ball Z, Sword Art Online, One Piece, and Naruto.
Bandai Namco hopes that the restructure will give more power to its Western-based divisions, as well as create new IPs for the European market. It is unclear how the merging of its Toy Unit with its Network Unit will affect future products. Its financial report revealed that while the company’s revenue as a whole has plateaued in recent years, its Network Entertainment unit has experienced an increase in sales.
The announcement marks the second restructuring of a Japanese video game company this year, as Konami announced in February that it would begin restructuring its gaming divisions this month.
It's the most wonderful time of the year; discount season. Bandai Namco is hosting a massive Winter Meltdown Sale on the Nintendo Switch eShop that is now live, and will last until December 31, 2020, at 11:59 pm PT. The Bandai Namco sale is highlighted by the likes of Dragon Ball FighterZ, Ni no Kuni, and Jump Force Deluxe Edition.
While some promoted price slashes offer small deals, this Winter Meltdown Sale has some games being discounted by nearly 85%. Dragon Ball FighterZ (which just received a new DLC character) is on sale for just $9.59, when it is still normally $59.99 on the Switch eShop.
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