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Bandai Namco Entertainment has made two new investments in gaming technology startups from a new investment fund.
The Tokyo-based company said its Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 Fund, which is set to invest.
entertainment startups and is building its intellectual property metaversal, having invested in US-based DeepMotion and India-based SuperGaming.
In line with Bandai Namco Group’s goal of “entertainment for all in the future” and its vision of “connecting with fans”, the company connects with fans to leverage IPs and develop deep, broad, multi-faceted relationships with partners, employees, societies and companies. IP fans worldwide.
Karim Fargali, Bandai Namco Entertainment America’s senior vice president of corporate development, told GamesBeat in an interview that the fund actually launched on April 1, 2022, with the goal of investing in early and mid-stage startups in related industries. games and toys.
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The idea was to get out of games and invest in startups or service companies that produce technology that Bandai Namco can use in games.
“The bottom line is that Bandai Namco Entertainment was able to invest in games and studios that produce games before this fund was created,” Fargali said. “Once the fund is in place, we can expand the types of partnerships we can do with all kinds of different companies globally.”
“For our vision, we want to connect with all partners to help us build the future of entertainment,” said Yoyo Yang, the fund’s chief investment officer, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We think entertainment itself has changed quite a bit recently, and we really want to catch that trend and we want to partner with outside innovators to do that.”
Two startup deals
DeepMotion develops AI-based automatic motion recognition technology, but is also a software service that develops its own motion creation service. Through this investment, Bandai Namco hopes to incorporate DeepMotion’s technology and expertise in motion creation and create new forms of entertainment using motion data.
Since its inception in 2014, DeepMotion has been on a mission to bring digital characters to life using AI and machine learning techniques. Founder Kevin He and his team have used their decades of experience building game engines for top game companies such as Blizzard, Roblox, Ubisoft and Disney to revolutionize motion capture from 2D video by making it easier to detect and synthesize human motion. using physics simulation and generative AI. a true movement of digital people that enables creators of any experience level to bring their virtual characters to life.
Their AI motion capture technology is available directly in the web browser, removing any hardware requirements, and can be directly integrated into other experiences as an API. This is another way for fans to express themselves.
“They do motion detection and are a pioneer in this kind of technology,” Ian said. “They can help us generate UGC content from our fans and help them better connect with our IPs.”
SuperGaming develops and publishes gaming applications for smartphones in India and develops and
provides a proprietary game development engine platform. Through this investment, Bandai Namco will seek to deepen its understanding of the Asian market, which is expected to grow further.
and expand our business by leveraging our expertise in IPs.
Fargali said most of Bandai Namco’s overall investment is based on categories of IPs. The company tries to target fans with new content on specific IPs that are popular.
Bandai Namco will continue to invest in the world’s leading companies to support its gaming business and introduce new forms of entertainment.
DeepMotion makes 3D animation tools using motion capture and AI technology. The company is headed by CEO and founder Kevin He. Super Gaming is headquartered in Singapore and operates in India, where it develops mobile games and game engines. John Roby is CEO. The company made a live action Pac-Man mobile game.
“They’re doing a lot of exciting things in a new market,” Fargali said.
Bandai Namco said the fund will invest in startups in Japan and overseas that provide entertainment-related products and services using blockchain, VR/AR/xR and AI, as well as companies engaged in metaverse and Web3 businesses.
At the moment, Bandai Namco is the only investor in the fund as it wants to be a strategic investor. The company is looking at making generative investments in artificial intelligence because that part of the tech world is moving so fast. It also looks at blockchain, user-generated content, and more. And it is considering whether to invest in other gaming-related investment funds, Ikeda said.
Apart from the US, the fund is also looking at new gaming regions such as India, Africa, Brazil and the rest of Latin America.
Part of the upcoming plan is to create metaverse experiences based on IPs. Bandai Namco has been thinking of investing heavily in its IP metaverse games and experiences, and it will make the pool a way to build an entire hub for metaverse experiences. But the company has also expanded its vision beyond just metaversion, said Kazuki Ikeda, one of the fund’s investment leaders.
“Our framework isn’t really just focused on the metaverse,” Ikeda said, speaking through a translator. “We’re looking at other types of entertainment, and we’re not just limited to the meta version.”
The fund targets a wide range of stages from pre-seed to later stages. It invests about 22 million dollars in three years. Average investments range from $75,000 to $3.75 million.
Bandai Namco’s fund previously invested in the Japanese company as well as Genies, a company that makes digital avatars for celebrities. The fund is now looking for companies in the U.S. and Europe with a more global approach, Fargali said.
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