This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail interview with David Schwartz, who is General Manager (PC Games Division) for Namco Networks America.
Namco Networks America is a developer and publisher of games for mobile phones, iPhones and personal computers. They started distributing 'Casual Games' for PC, through Digital Distribution. It's not so common to see that big core game company entered this area, so did this interview. Enjoy reading. :)
1. FIrst of all, please introduce your company. We know Namco Bandai very well, but don't know Namco Networks America yet.
Namco Networks America is a developer and publisher of games for mobile phones, iPhones and personal computers. Unlike our sister company ? who focuses on console games for the hard core game playing audience ? we tend to focus on casual games. For instance, on the PC, we develop and publish game titles that include hidden object, time management, match-3, puzzle adventure, among others. These games are digitally distributed through our portal or those of our partners.
2. Namco Networks America seems to be publisher of Mobile / iPhone games, but does also Casual games for PC via Digital Distribution. Even some other big companies also do Mobile / iPhone, Digital Distribution for PC Casual Games is rare. And even Square Enix / Atlus / Capcom published few PC Casual Games, they don't have sub-label as Namco Networks & their games are multi-platformed with XBLA or NDS. So Namco Networks is unique, to publish Casual Games for PC only. How come to do that?
We are a games company, and as such we need to create and distribute games to consumers wherever they may be. While it is true that we are known for titles that engage a younger, male audience, we also see a tremendous opportunity in reaching out to other types of game players such as females, more casual game players that enjoy simple yet immersive games, and people who prefer to jump into games whenever they want, all from their mouse and keyboards.
3. [Mr. Driller] for PC! Do you have any plan to release it? We all like it, and it's ported to several platform until now, and there was 1 PC version in the past.
We are currently evaluating this title for possible release, perhaps as a Flash game or maybe a download, but our plans are not definitive yet.
4. [Burgertime] was one of famous arcade game in the past, but it's not made by Namco. It's made by Data East, and G-mode got IP now. It's kinda complicated business to release Remake of that, especially for Western style Casual Game for PC. How come to do that?
As we have a long-standing relationship with G-mode and have already brought the BurgerTime property to the mobile phone, we decided to extend the brand out to the PC as well. Within the casual game space we still see opportunities for fun platformer games, and BurgerTime is one of the most well-known.
5. [Burgertime Deluxe] & [Everything Nice] are Western style Casual Games, kinda well made, but lack of some user friendly experience. For example, it's too hard to remember parts & make things in [Everything Nice], and too many words for comic strips in [Burgertime Deluxe]. What's your plan to improve that situation? More experience & care needed, as I think.
We strive to make our games as user-friendly as possible and find mechanics and game play that will most resonate with our customers. We are always learning and refining our approach. With future releases, such as with our latest game Tinseltown Dreams, and other titles coming out in the next couple of months, you will see that we have made more strides to make the games as enjoyable as possible.
6. Namco Networks America has original Western Style Casual Games, which are exclusive for PC. And except for [Burgertime Deluxe] in Playfirst, other games are only available in your own homepage. Do you plan to make Casual Games portal as Big Fish Games, or just do new big publisher? Will you accept some submit from indie game companies? And will you sell / publish some less-Casual games as [Aveyond] (RPG) - [Blackwell Convergence] (Adventure)?
Yes, yes, and yes. Our games will be hitting many of the major portals any day now, so please be on the lookout. Of course, you can always find our games on our portal as well. In addition, we will certainly be evaluating games from independent developers that want to distribute games through our portal as well.
7. Namco Networks America uses Plimus, which is famous for Indie Game / Shareware scene, but not common for big companies. How come to use it, and what is positive thing to use it?
Our experience with Plimus has been positive. They provide a very robust ecommerce and DRM solution for our digitally distributed product.
8. Please pick 5 good games & explain the reason why.
Five makes me think too much so I will give you three.
Plants vs. Zombies is a wonderful game that combines several very fun mechanics coupled with some great humor. The promotion of the game, including the music video, was very well done. Kudos to PopCap.
Next, I would saw that Big Fish Game’s MCF: Return to Ravenhearst is a fantastic game. The artwork, sound, game mechanics and puzzles make for an all-around great game.
Finally, I would say I Dig It on the iPhone. The game has great art and good replay value; I just love the idea of digging and finding little treasures.
9. Have you ever experienced or heard about Korean games? If so, please share us your opinion.
Most certainly. Korean games have paved the way throughout Asia and other parts of the world with their highly immersive game play and innovative business models. I think there is much we can learn.
10. Please leave some message to Pig-Min readers.
An-Nyoung-Ha-Shim-Ni-Kka!1 We hope you will come to our site Namco Games and try out our various games. We hope that you will find them enjoyable and come back for more casual game fun! Jin-Shim-Eu-Ro Kam-Sa-Ham-Ni-Da. 2