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Namco America creates mobile division

New subsidiary to focus on advanced 3D mobile gaming

Namco America has announced the creation of a dedicated mobile subsidiary, just days after a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report predicted mobile gaming will be America's fastest growing entertainment sector.

The report, based on the current mobile industry market value of USD 281 million, predicted a seven-fold growth by 2009, suggesting that the American market will increase by as much as 49.3 percent annually, as next generation 3D capable handsets are rolled out in the country.

Namco's new mobile division, to be called Namco Networks America, will be led by Kenji Hisatsune, who currently serves as executive vice president and COO of Namco America. The new company will begin operating on 1st January 2006, with Hisatsune assuming the role of COO and CEO, under the parent company (recently merged with Bandai) Namco Bandai Holdings (USA).

Hisatsune commented: "The mobile games industry is thriving, and the establishment of Namco Networks shows our dedication to the mobile and network industry. Through quality titles, strong partnerships and revenue growth, we have created a reputation of excellence, a reputation which is maintained by our team of dedicated professionals."

In addition to the distribution of classic Namco titles such as Pac-man and Galaga, the new company will focus on advanced 3D mobile games, including a new, 3D version of Pac-man which it hopes to release early in 2006. Namco Networks will also be providing game sounds, icons, wallpapers, ringtones and screensavers in a bid to diversify and provide comprehensive mobile content distribution.

"We are looking forward to expanding our business offerings to allow for growth and opportunity in all aspects of the mobile and networks industry," Hisatsune added.

Namco America joins a rapidly increasing number of PC and console publishers moving into the mobile gaming market, particularly in Japan, where the mobile gaming industry is much more advanced. America is definitely seen as a growing market however, and a recent study conducted by Ziff Davis suggested that 27.9 million North American households have mobile phones that can play games, compared with 16.3 million in 2004.

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