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Bandai Namco's Arnaud Miller discusses securing third-party IP in the age of acquisitions


As more developers and publishers become acquired, or are open to being acquired, Bandai Namco Europe COO Arnaud Muller touched on the difficulties of operating in this era of game development. Speaking with GamesIndustry, Muller admitted that the Scarlet Nexus and BlazBlue publisher has had to implement safeguards with third-party developers, specifically ones already owned by different publishers. 

Muller explained that for studios that Bandai Namco partners with, the publisher has to invest in what he called “IP creation.” Securing those IPs, particularly for marketing, has required it to invest small stakes into studios who are developing these games. 

“We also have to keep in mind that we have to get some sort of security towards the future of the studio that develops this IP, if the IP doesn’t belong to us,” said Muller. “You’re talking first option rights, you’re talking IP ownership, you’re talking minority stakes in those studios. So there are ways to secure the relationships.”

As an example, he pointed at developer Supermassive Games. Bandai Namco publishes the studio’s Dark Pictures anthology series, and Supermassive was purchased by Danish investment firm Nordisk back in July. Even though Supermassive outright owns the Dark Pictures IP, Muller confirmed that the relationship between the developer and publisher hasn’t changed, since Nordisk doesn’t publish games. 

While admitting that Bandai Namco has the money to keep these relationships, Muller also briefly touched on the flip side of the acquisition glut. Namely, that not everyone can be a Bandai Namco. “This spread of acquisition that we’re seeing is affecting some of the smaller publishers in their capacity to access the best studios in the world.” 

As far as what smaller publishers could do as the mergers and acquisitions continue, he  had no answer. 


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