In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz today at Gamescom, Bandai Namco Europe's CEO Arnaud Muller addressed the impact of the current acquisition spree in games on smaller publishers.
While acknowledging that Bandai Namco is in a privileged position, Muller said that the company has to implement measures to safeguard its partnerships and IPs, while smaller publishing outfits might suffer more directly from this consolidation trend.
"What I find is that we have to secure the IPs that we create with the studios we partner with," he said. "When we invest in IP creation, when we invest in marketing for these IPs, 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.
"So this is something that we work on. You know, 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. But we at Bandai Namco have the financial means to secure these partnerships.
"We work on a number of measures to secure those partnerships -- 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."
Bandai Namco is the publisher behind The Dark Pictures Anthology from developer Supermassive, which was acquired by Nordisk last month. The Dark Pictures IP belongs to Supermassive but Muller assured us this "doesn't change anything in the relationship" with Bandai Namco as Nordisk is not a games publisher.
Bandai Namco is also the publisher of the Little Nightmares franchise – of which it owns the IP – with its developer Tarsier acquired by Embracer in 2020.
Keep an eye out for our full interview with Arnaud Muller in the coming weeks.