Namco Bandai: “Selling Full Games is No Good”


Echoing recent comments by Codemasters, the CEO of Namco Bandai has also candidly stated that selling full games is old hat and that games should really be nothing but vehicles for DLC.

Namco Bandai Holdings CEO Shukuo Ishikawa spoke about the role of DLC strategy:

Selling a game only once for $70-$80 [typical Japanese prices] is no good at all. If you sell it for $25, or even give it away free, then you can sell episodes and items online. They’ll soon be dropping $10 or $20 on these, and you can also do monthly charges.”

Of course, Namco Bandai already has a reputation as being a master of this venerable strategy, not that this seems to have helped their recent financial performance.


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  • No…you battle piracy by…ignoring it….. you put in place basic protections to keep the majority of the masses from copying it easily. Wasting millions to get thousands in profits is ridiculous…..and should remain the way the music industry dose things!

  • Anonymous says:

    This is the whole point of “Cloud” computing.

    Software companies don’t want you to own anything.
    If you want to use their products, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription.

    This strategy needs to be opposed by everyone!


  • Anonymous says:

    We tried to tell you.

    People screaming with excitement over the new online capabilities of the 360 and PS3? People who knew saw what was coming. We tried to tell you that with the online capabilities would come some very new ways to screw you over.

    We were mocked as being silly and paranoid.

    • RunnerRed says:

      Sound like i’ts worth to repeat myself here : they want to put an end to used game sales more than fighting piracy or bleeding dry customers (ok, maybe “as well” for this one)

      which would be pretty much annoying for low-budget gamers who can’t afford sealed blister games, commonly priced around 60-70€ here in France

  • Anonymous says:

    Difference bettween this and Free MMORPGS

    This: Buy half a game for over 50 dollars.
    Buy some more data.
    Buy some more data.
    Buy some more data.
    Spend over 100 dollars.

    Free MMORPG: Download game for free.
    Get updates for free.
    Buy optional cash shop items that are like 5 percent of the whole game and does not change gameplay DRASTICALLY.

  • Anonymous says:

    What about the games the have flopped simply because they were released ‘unfinished’?

    Also means they will have to implement some way of backing up & running the game WITHOUT an Internet connection (or any kind of link to their server), a thing at which Steam fails miserably (& they get constant complaints about).

    And if any company using any sort of online system in their games goes out of business they should provide a patch or some sort of system where the game will still be playable. I have a large number of DOS games that I still play, will you still be able to play today’s games 10-20 years in the future?

  • While this has nothing to do with the article at hand, every single damn time I see the phrase ‘DLC’ I automatically read it as ‘DFC’, especially on this site, and get a totally different meaning out of the sentence.
    “games should really be nothing but vehicles for DFC”

  • Anonymous says:

    The idea of an all DLC game is still fine.

    BUT the idea about having to download them through the consoles after Buying them is a nightmare for those who lives in weak internet countries… even downloading a measly update can be long.

    I just hope they make a complete versions for countries like that. I don’t care if it’s going to be more pricey, I just don’t want the hassle of re-doing the downloading proses.

  • Anonymous says:

    I kind of like this idea a bit more.
    Buy it for 15 and if you like it buy more.
    It sort of kills narrative though and for games where thats important, it sucks.

    What I like is that it could lead to games being good. If a game is shit no one will buy the rest.

    I also question the viability of this. It costs a lot to create all the basic foundations of the game like character designs and mechanics and if it ends selling little and with the lower initial costs it would be a huge loss.

    Something I do like is that it could lead to more original ideas and fresh stuff.

    Overall though DLC based stuff is unstable and unreliable so far.
    Still waiting for episode 3 of HL for example.

    All good and bad things aside, this is Namco Bandai we’re talking about. I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing good comes out of this and its just a way to earn more from their mediocre rehashed shit.

  • Anonymous says:

    lol @ monthly subscriptions. Sell me a game for that price and yea we are talking.

    Now heres the thing I like playing full games. If I plunk down $60 I plunk it down and enjoy the game. I would probably pay that $20 for the game, and probably be done with it on day one and ignore all the DLC moving on to something larger and more fulfilling.

  • Anonymous says:

    the article doesn’t say all game would be monthly charge.
    most single player don’t.
    is like dividing price of 70$ game into few part.

    maybe you still can buy the whole game, but theres also option, for example first chapter only for 10 bucks. its like demo version but much longer gameplay, full feature save point and achievement to be use in next chapter. if you like the game then you can buy the rest.

    this business model is more harm to game producer than people who buy the game.
    but it worth to try.

    how many of you actually finish your game? especially RPG? now if you pay for first 5 hours instead of whole 50 hours it would help the game maker to distribute the game easily trough internet.
    because low use of bandwidth. and easy for you too.

    70$ game is too expensive .
    event tho now because the production cost is getting more expensive ,you ld stagger to see the actual marketing and distribution cost which is day it could exceed the production cost. you don’t want to pay for marketing bullshit, you download right from the factory and play. simple and less money to pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      marketing bullshit?

      you think information just appear out of nowhere?

      Most biggest sellers have the biggest budget for marketing. Are they the best games? Not really, so why then some better games never outsell these “lower quality” games?

      Because of marketing. you spent less on marketing you sell less copies, you spent more on marketing, you sell more copies… in the end it all events out. on average it still cost similar.

      Different is how much upfront cash you can cough out, and risk and return rate to justify.

      Like it or not marketing is some of the most impt cost and also the reason why most people knows about it.

  • Anonymous says:

    i like how this fucking site intentionally never cites their sources.

    some of us want to read the original japanese article.
    and some of us want to laugh at the translation fail.

    • 1. The entire newspaper article is at the bottom of the article.

      2. Sources are always cited in the body of the article text as something called a “link,” which on this site will be coloured an eye-catching orange.

      With that in mind, I somehow doubt you are actually amongst the minority able to read the original Japanese language sources, whatever you may wish….

  • I don’t like where this anti-piracy trend is going. I don’t see why the DLC only idea would even work since patience can stop that short.

    People I know that say they pirate some games do it because, they are interested in the game, but don’t want to spend the money and find it to be crud. And later, if it is good for them, they do buy it, or wait for a sale then buy it.

    This may be isolated or wrong for the general “pirate” population, but that’s what the people I know do.

    There seems to be a flaw in thinking that pirates mean lost money. Most pirates are people that NEVER would have bought the game ANYWAY, therefore the company is not losing money because of them.

    To avoid piracy I research the games and try to rent them or if someone I know bought the game, I watch them or even play the game. So far I’ve spent my money wisely, but it’s a lot of work and you have to be patient. The demo idea MAY work, at least for me, because if the game looks and plays like crap in the demo, I won’t buy it, but there has to be enough demo to make the call. Getting a free copy of the full game that stops working after a few days could be one possibility. They do that on Steam and I saved money by not buying Killing-Floor after getting to play the full game for free for 3 days because in the end I didn’t like it.

    Also games are getting very expensive, and if prices keep going up companies are going to out price themselves out of business. The DLC idea almost seems a covert way of making a game that should be $30 into a game that is $100+.

    Sorry it was so long. Just had a lot to say about this.

  • wtf no just no.

    it’s actually backwards. developers “SHOULD” be putting all content under one disk so that the consumer won’t feel cheated remember Capcom?

    DLC should only be used if there’s actually a new campaign or side story that has been done “AFTER” the development of the game is done and not letting some unfinished content to be sell afterwards.

    free maps and skins should be free since it can divide the people who play with packs and those who don’t have one.

  • In theory, this might work on some scale for huge games like Modern Warfare, where you want the newest map pack to play with all of your friends. However, if you’re spending more money on your big games, that means you have less time and money for smaller games, and as I recall neither Namco nor Codemasters puts out many chart-engulfing AAA titles. They propose this strategy, but if it becomes widespread they’re the ones that will lose out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Montly fees are fine in MMORPG. They have to care about players ingame, they have to run servers etc. Its justifiable. Fees in singleplayer games means pirates ahoy!

    So far most od DLCs for japanese games were just some stupid costumes, usually totally out of game style (red riding hood in Resident evil? Japanese school swimsuit in Tales series?). I hope they dont mean DLC in that style. That would practicaly change whole game into dress-a-doll gimick.

    • I predict the next Tales game will first come out for 360, be riddled with really stupid bugs, and then eventually released as a complete version on PS3, only to be shortly recalled for yet more, stupid bugs.

      DLC just complicates things.

  • Anonymous says:

    ha, this will never work

    there is no way they can keep up at the speed users play the game, once the user finishes the last dlc if he doesnt have another one available he will move on the other game, the chances of getting him/her to go back to the old game are very very low

    because of this sales will most likely drop in each following episode so eventually theyll get canceled for lack of sales

    games that are successful are also in constant danger of entering developing hell and never ending or worse, being outsourced. This could happen because legal reasons between the devs and the publisher (VERY common, look at how Activision handled MW2’s devs), because the devs just got tired of the game or wrote themselves into a corner (look at hl2 ep3), or the publisher thinks that rebooting the story/characters/whatever will draw more sales than releasing the next episode (just look at how many reboots we got lately)

    and incidentally 99% games will never end and will get canceled/stalled forever after a cliffhanger (since every single episode will end in a cliffhanger to get you to buy the next one), the funny thing is this will erode the player’s interest in gaming making the process even faster

  • Anonymous says:

    If they do this properly, it could be cheaper and better for everyone. I generally don’t pirate games so I look at this and think $25 for the base game, then say $10-20 for each additional part, say 2 more parts it could be the same price or cheaper and put more money in their pockets.

    Now here’s the other pro to this method, if they do the first part at $25 through a standard disc system, they get part of that and then there is the licensing via the console company and all of that crap,but each DLC after would most likely be download based. None of that other crap they have to do so that means the company gets more of the money. Which would mean higher profit at a lower pay point.

    In the end, if done properly, we could get games cheaper… But it won’t be done properly, so we’re probably fucked.

  • Anonymous says:

    In the end when all the DLC is out, someone will put together the first part along with all the others, crack them and sell them in a “complete version”… did they really ignore this little detail?

    • I agree, I think technology has progressed now where gaming companies see the advantage of installments instead of hacker proofing games. Ten years ago this wouldn’t be possible yet because not many people had internet access.

      This could very well be the future of gaming as we know it, as such though it would be important for gaming companies to put out a good game still since they want people to put more money into it for future installments. Of course, this doesn’t work for sport games, unless people want to pay for monthly roster changes to mirror real life.

      • I agree. Distribution costs are higher, and they’ll be able to raise the overall price without us realizing it.

        Think about a $70 fighting game, and then think about offering that game at a base of $35, with the full roster of characters unlocked in four parts, at $15 each.

        Namco Bandai is going to have to think about actually releasing decent games, before they can think about changing the face of the industry.

  • Doing that, or programming only in the PS3…
    After all it’s the only console that hasn’t been cracked.
    With the strategy presented here there only looking (again) for the easy buck… Games will still be sold at 60-70€ and the downloads will still be paid…

  • They do this with MMORPGs like Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft; thus is why they don’t have bootleg issues, but do have account theft issues instead.

    I see that on some games on my PS3, get an expansion so Chun-Li can wear a bikini while fighting and stuff like that; I’m not a big fan of that and don’t think that’s necessary for the game.

    Sadly, I can see this coming to be… because companies have given up on keeping there product hacker free now and they port them on all platforms even though PS3 is proven mostly to be hacker resistant.

  • Looks like it’s time for Namco to find a new CEO like GM did.
    The thing is downloadable games could be good if done right but no one really has a really good system in place.
    Being able to use removable flash storage for downloaded games would be a good start.
    There are ways to keep piracy at an acceptable level yet still allow fair use.
    There is no way to kill all piracy without f–king up the show.

    • Anonymous says:

      Steam. It works very well, and the only significant issue I have with it is that it takes ages to start upon login, which is very irritating if you are like me and don’t run Windows as a primary OS.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why not just make good games, then they can make millions!
    To bad none of them know how to make a good game anymore.
    No person with a brain will waste their money on half a game.
    I know I wouldn’t!

    • I doubt they will kill it. The industry is deeply rooted among us. At most, they would incur the wrath and loss of support by their customers.

      I personally have bought Namco games over many years. Still, if they implement this, I would completely drop my support for the company. I doubt I would be the only user that would do this.

    • Oh no, you’ll be able to buy only covers – the main pages will be sold only online, all chapters separately, and you will be able to buy “Chapter #N” only if you have purchased all chapters prior to that one! xD

      P.S. Illustrations are available for an additional fee, but only after you buy the ‘text’!

    • Anonymous says:

      That wouldn’t happen. These old people running big companies are too stubborn and senile. They can’t comprehend that alienating your fanbase is a bad move. They just hear that someone is pirating their shit and blame their company’s failure on that.

  • Anonymous says:

    How about lowering down the price of the game by about 10 dollars or so to encourage gamers to actually purchse the game with pre-order physical swag as opposed to digital content.

    Then apply low priced digital content that doesn’t break the wallet so to maximize customer purchase as opposed to Pissing People Off.

    • Don’t forget allow use of SD cards or memory sticks for downloaded content so it’s not lost if the console dies.
      Yes this would entitle use of the DRM features of these mediums to keep piracy to an acceptable level.
      There will always be some but the key is reaching a compromise.