Blockchain Will Be ‘Standard’ for Gaming in Asia: Bandai Namco Exec

Asia continent with bandai namco logo and blockchain icon.

Bandai Namco—the Japanese game publisher behind titles like Elden Ring, Dark Souls as well as retro classics like Tekken and Pac-Man—is continuing to conduct research and development in the mobile blockchain gaming sector for the Asia market.

Bandai Namco’s SVP of Corporate Development Karim Farghaly shared his stance on blockchain’s potential role in video games—as well as what the studio is exploring in the world of crypto—in an interview with Decrypt at the Esports and Gaming Business Summit in Las Vegas this week.

Farghaly, who’s worked under Bandai Namco’s American division for over eight years, shared that the publisher is looking into how blockchain integrations can fit into its mobile-focused business model.

“We’ve dabbled internally with researching how Web3 infrastructure could work,” Farghaly told Decrypt. “From an Asia point of view, I work very closely with a team in Tokyo through our corporate planning that thinks about these things and the differences between the Western market and the Asian market when it comes to Web3.”

“Web3 is definitely something that doesn’t have the backlash that gamers feel in the West in Asia,” Farghaly added. “I think that most likely, the very first games that will be successful in Web3 and crypto that will start bringing big audiences are going to be in Asia—that’s my personal opinion.”

In Asia, less stigma around blockchain games means more activity. So far, this has proven true, with far more large publishers in Japan and Korea actively developing blockchain games than in the western world.

“There’s just more going on there,” Farghaly said of blockchain gaming activity in Asia.

“And for us, it’s a little bit challenging because of the backlash that Web3 has had in general. I was a little bit surprised because I know that there are some big IPs that are looking at the Web3 space as well.”

Like Sega, Bandai Namco has similarly worked with blockchain firm Double Jump.Tokyo to develop blockchain games. This summer, Bandai Namco launched an AI-powered virtual pet game called Ryuzo, where players can own their own Ryu creatures as NFTs.

The Ryu NFTs exist on the Oasys blockchain. Bandai Namco has invested in Oasys, and Sega and Ubisoft have also committed to building projects on the Oasys chain.

“We’ve invested in a couple Web3 companies through our VC fund in Japan,” Farghaly said, referring to Oasys as well as Double Jump.Tokyo, Web3 community platform Gaudiy, and Genies, an NFT wearables company.

Farghaly sees a unique value proposition in blockchain games, specifically for whom he calls the “whales” of the gaming world.

“Owning a digital asset, and the ability to trade that asset, sell that asset, keep that asset for a very long time… I think is very interesting to gamers, especially gamers that tend to spend in games,” Farghaly told Decrypt.

Farghaly also believes that the mobile gaming sector will lead the way.

“Mobile will probably push Web3 and crypto faster, just because now you have the combination of iOS and Google allowing you to take the asset out and mint it,” Farghaly said.

“I think we’re gonna see that more than anything else. So mobile probably is a little bit ahead, and PC will have it, but PC without multi-platform is just PC. And at the end of the day, that’s probably not where we’re looking at our audience.”