DEC, 4, 2008 • To better reach the U.S. market, Namco Bandai launched a Santa Clara, Calif.-based studio and label named Surge. The first title expected under the Surge brand is Afro Samurai in January 2009. Other Namco Bandai IPs will be moved to the label, in addition to original content from the U.S. studio, plus outside developers in the U.S.
Impact: Namco Bandai has been releasing games in the U.S. for well-over 20 years. However, like many of the large Japanese publishers, Namco Bandai has really only had a thinly staffed satellite office in the U.S. that mainly focused on product distribution. As Japanese publishers are increasingly forced to go international as domestic sales decline, the strategy is becoming to build up full-fledged development studios in key markets around the world.