Bandai Namco mutual fund invests in 2 technology startups to advance gaming

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Bandai Namco Entertainment has made two new investments in gaming technology startups from a new investment fund.

The Tokyo-based company said its Bandai Namco Entertainment 021 Fund is a fund to invest in
entertainment startups and building its intellectual property metaverse, has invested in US-based DeepMotion and India-based SuperGaming.

Under Bandai Namco Group’s goal of “fun for everyone into the future” and its vision of “connecting with fans”, the company connects with fans to leverage intellectual property and create deep, broad, multi-faceted relationships with partners, employees, Societies and cultivate IP fans around the world.

Karim Farghaly, senior vice president of corporate development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the fund was indeed launched on April 1, 2022 with the aim of investing in early- to mid-stage start-ups in all related industries to invest in gaming and toys.


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The idea was to go beyond games and invest in startups or service providers that make the technologies that Bandai Namco can use in games.

“The bottom line is that Bandai Namco Entertainment was able to invest in games and studios that make games until this fund was created,” Farghaly said. “Once the fund is in place, we’ll be able to expand the types of partnerships we can form with all sorts of different companies on a global scale.”

“For our vision, we want to connect with all partners to help us build the future of entertainment,” said Yoyo Yang, the fund’s investment director, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We believe that entertainment itself has changed quite a bit recently and we really want to capitalize on that trend and work with the outside innovators to make that happen.”

Two startup deals

With DeepMotion you can capture yourself on a smartphone and turn it into a digital avatar.

DeepMotion develops AI-based automatic motion detection technology, but is also a software-as-a-service company developing its own motion generation service. Through this investment, Bandai Namco hopes to integrate DeepMotion’s technology and expertise in motion generation and create new forms of entertainment using motion data.

Since its inception in 2014, DeepMotion’s mission has been to bring digital characters to life using AI and machine learning techniques. Founder Kevin He and his team used their decades of experience building game engines for top gaming companies like Blizzard, Roblox, Ubisoft, and Disney to revolutionize motion capture from 2D video by making it easy to capture human motion of physics simulation and generative AI to recognize and synthesize lifelike motion of digital humans, enabling creators of any skill level to bring their virtual characters to life.

Their AI motion capture technology is available directly in the web browser, eliminating any hardware requirements, and can be directly integrated into other experiences as an API. It’s another way for fans to express themselves.

“They do motion detection and are a pioneer in this type of technology,” Yang said. “They can help us generate UGC content from our fans and help them better connect with our IPs.”

SuperGaming in India develops and publishes gaming applications for smartphones and develops and
provides a proprietary engine platform for game development. Through this investment, Bandai Namco will seek to deepen its understanding of the Asian market, which is expected to continue growing in the future.
and grow our business by leveraging our expertise in IPs.

Mask Gun by Super Gaming.

Farghaly said that a majority of Bandai Namco’s overall investments are based on IP categories. The company tries to target fans with new content in the specific IPs that are popular.

Bandai Namco will continue to invest in outstanding companies around the world to support its gaming business and introduce new forms of entertainment.

DeepMotion makes 3D animation tools that use motion capture and AI technology. The company is led by CEO and founder Kevin He. Super Gaming is headquartered in Singapore and has operations in India, where it carries out mobile game production and game engine work. John Roby is CEO. The company performed live operations for the mobile game Pac-Man.

“They’re doing some very exciting things in a new market,” Farghaly said.

Bandai Namco said the fund will invest in startups in Japan and abroad that provide entertainment-related products and services that leverage blockchain, VR/AR/xR and AI, as well as companies engaged in Metaverse and Web3 businesses.

Currently, Bandai Namco is the sole investor in the fund as it aims to be a strategic investor. The company is considering investing in generative AI because this part of the tech world is evolving so rapidly. It also looks at blockchain, user-generated content, and more. And there is debate over whether it can make investments in other gaming-related mutual funds, Ikeda said.

In addition to the US, the fund is also examining new gaming regions such as India, Africa, Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

Part of the plan for the future is to build Metaverse experiences based on IPs. Bandai Namco was considering making large investments in its IP Metaverse games and experiences, and it would turn the fund into a way to build an entire Metaverse experiences hub. But the company has also expanded its vision beyond the Metaverse, said Kazuki Ikeda, one of the fund’s investment directors.

Bandai Namco fund has invested in DeepMotion.

“Our scope isn’t really just focused on the metaverse,” Ikeda said, speaking through a translator. “We’re looking at other types of entertainment and not just limiting ourselves to the Metaverse.”

The fund targets a wide range of phases, from the pre-seed phase to later phases. It invests approximately $22 million over three years. Average investments range from $75,000 to $3.75 million.

Previously, Bandai Namco’s fund invested in a Japanese company and also in Genies, the maker of digital celebrity avatars. Now the fund is looking for companies in the US and Europe, with a more global approach, Farghaly said.

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