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Namco plans new focus on Europe

Japanese publisher Namco is to expand its presence in the UK, in a move which is intended to strengthen the company's European operations and allow it to compete directly with publishers such as Electronic Arts.

Japanese publisher Namco is to expand its presence in the UK, in a move which is intended to strengthen the company's European operations and allow it to compete directly with publishers such as Electronic Arts.

Full details of the move, which was announced by Namco managing director Yoichi Haraguchi, will be revealed in spring. According to Haraguchi-san, the enhanced presence in England will allow the company to work on developing games for markets outside Japan.

The comparison with Electronic Arts is an interesting one, since Namco actually uses EA to distribute many of its games here in Europe at the moment - with Soul Calibur II on PS2 and Xbox coming out via EA last year, and R:Racing and Spawn Armageddon both due in the coming months.

Although it's not explicitly stated, the tone of Haraguchi's announcement tends to suggest that Namco will take over its own publishing in Europe once the company's new UK presence has been established - following, perhaps, in the footsteps of Sega, which last year re-opened a major European operation.

Namco has also announced plans for a release of its hugely popular Taiko no Tatsujin ("Drum Master") rhythm action game in the USA and Europe during 2004, following massive success in Japan.

Now on its third incarnation (not counting all manner of minor updates with new tunes), Taiko no Tatsujin has sold some two million units in the Far East, despite the large price tag attached to its unique drum controller. It's expected that the firm will localise the game with western songs before it is launched over here.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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