(Thanks to everyone who sent this in! h/t to The Stinger Report for sending it my way first)
Among the news items that I overlooked at or following IAAPA, was this press release from Namco USA about a major change in their arcade operations. I did pass by a booth at IAAPA that was labelled as “Pac-Man Entertainment,” but didn’t realize that it was the Namco location operations arm that handles operations – I just thought it was another way that Namco was selling Pac-Man machines. That assumption was wrong and fortunately a few people have followed up with me on what is really going on.
If you are also confused, then no worries. As a multinational company, Bandai Namco has many different divisions that share the name, but operate as different companies with a unique focus. You have divisions that handles the development & manufacturing of arcade amusement games, home console games, VR site locations, research & development, arcade business operations, etc. But if you have a problem with something like your console game, then contacting one of the other divisions won’t get you very far.
The post today is concerned with the latter part, the arcade locations. Namco-owned locations have had a variety of names, such as Time Out, games! or Level 257. As the press release below mentions, they operate over 8,000 game machines across North America. Many of those are setup as revenue share models, which often will not have the location branded with any particular name – you’ll just be visiting a movie theater and see an arcade game room. Most people just assume that the location owns the games, when in reality the games are owned by an operator, like Namco, and the revenues are shared with the location.
With the announcement on the 27th of November, we find that Namco is looking to expand their operations, and are doing so by using the most iconic character in their brand – Namco’s mascot, Pac-Man.
With that, you can expect to see Pac-Man popping up in more entertainment venues across the fruited plain. The first of those is the re-branding of Level 257 in Schamburg, IL to Pac-Man Entertainment; the PR also mentions that there will be locations carrying the name Pac-Man Café and Pac-Man Zone.
If you go to pacmanentertainment.com, you can already see Level 257’s transformation with the new direction. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes
Here’s the press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 27, 2018
NAMCO USA INC. Announces Nationwide Expansion
Chicago, Illinois – November 27, 2018 – NAMCO USA INC., (NUSA), announced November 13th, 2018 at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, (IAAPA), that it is expanding its amusement operations in North America under the brand name of PAC-MAN. NUSA’s parent company, BANDAI NAMCO GROUP, (BNG), is committed to expansion in three key global markets over the next ten years; China, India and North America.
As the sole licensor of the PAC-MAN brand for operations in the Americas by BNG, NUSA will begin marketing under the unified brand for all new and remodeled locations. NUSA will continue to develop, scale and expand its direct managed locations (DML); Pac-Man Zone, Pac-Man Café, Pac-Man Entertainment.
President and CEO, Kiyoshi Saito, stated, “Over the past few months, we have evolved our full scale restaurant and entertainment center in Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL from Level 257 to Pac-Man Entertainment. It is only natural that we expand on this change and embrace it across our operations.”
About NAMCO USA, INC.
North American Operations were founded in 1990 and are now headquartered in Wood Dale, IL. NAMCO USA INC. (NUSA), is the owner and operator of 48 manned centers in North America and Puerto Rico that provide entertainment and encourage customers to “Play Together Again”. NUSA currently operates over 8,000 machines amongst over 1,000 revenue share facilities within other businesses.
Some of the statements in this press release may be forward-looking statements or statements of future expectations based on currently available information. Such statements are naturally subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors such as the development of general economic conditions, future market conditions, unusual catastrophic loss events, changes in the capital markets and other circumstances may cause the actual events or results to be materially different from those anticipated by such statements. NAMCO USA INC., does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or updated status of such statements. Therefore, in no case whatsoever will NAMCO USA INC., and its affiliate companies be liable to anyone for any decision made or action taken in conjunction with the information and/or statements in this press release or for any related damages.
For Media Inquiries contact;
NAMCO USA INC.
712 N. Central Ave., STE B
Wood Dale, IL 60191