At the 3rd Gundam Conference event, Bandai Namco announced that they are going forward with the Gundam Metaverse. As announced in February 2022, Bandai Namco is moving forward with its plans to create an IP metaverse, starting with the brand.
The company first revealed its plans for Metaverse in its mid-year report released last month. According to the latest presentation and press release, Bandai Namco intends for it to become a “platform of opportunities” for fans worldwide to connect with each other.
Bandai Namco aims to transform the Metaverse completely
Going forward the Japanese tech giant’s first step in the making of the metaverse is the creation of virtual communities for each category of Gundam engagement. These include things like Gunpla (Gundam plastic model kits), video games, anime productions, and music. Each will be linked by the existing Bandai Namco ID system.
Then, virtual spaces will be constructed. These will be modeled after Gundam‘s signature space colonies which have immense popularity. Each will link to the Gundam Metaverse hub. Collectively, this cluster of colonies will be called Side-G. How these virtual colonies will be accessed by users has not been specified yet. Bandai Namco has assured that the virtual spaces would be linked somehow to the real world.
One example of such a Gundam Metaverse space was a concept illustration of a possible “Gunpla Colony” virtual world. It is patterned after The Gundam Base Virtual World, a virtual space tested in 2021. It took the form of a virtual reality Gundam-themed mall. The Gunpla Colony would take this concept further, with personalized rooms for users and ways for them to scan their physical gunpla models to be used in battle. This would possibly be like the concept of the Gundam Build Divers anime. Limited access tests for the Gunpla colony are planned for Autumn 2022.
Another example colony is the Esports Colony. This will be a virtual space based on existing Gundam multiplayer games like Gundam Battle Operation 2 and the upcoming Gundam Evolution.
Gundam Metaverse presentation lays out a “C2C” business model
Perhaps the most telling portion of the Gundam Metaverse presentation dealt with Bandai Namco’s plans to expand its virtual space. In a section dealing with its plans for the near future, it stated that it will urge third-party companies to “join the Gundam market” building. Bandai Namco is looking at companies that will “allow general users to conduct C2C business using the Gundam brand in the form of user-generated content (UGC).” The goal is to build out the Gundam Metaverse in such a way as to preserve “character rights” while expanding the Gundam brand through IP “co-created with fans.”
The most radical aspect of Bandai Namco’s plans is that they are bringing a revolutionary “C2C” business model that means “Customer-to-Customer.” It indicates a scenario in which individual customers interact and transact directly with each other. This is often in a way mediated by the business. Online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy are considered C2C businesses. In online games, functions like in-game auction houses are a non-traditional form of C2C.
However, when C2C is mentioned alongside a metaverse concept and “user-generated content,” it could be interpreted as a euphemism for planned cryptocurrency integration such as Play-to-Earn mechanics or NFTs and other forms of digital asset trading. Bandai Namco didn’t specifically mention crypto or NFTs in connection to the Gundam Metaverse.
However, it can be said with certainty that they will be included because without them a fully functional Metaverse is impossible. Psych up for Bandai Namco’s entry into the Metaverse as the first limited tests of the Gundam Metaverse will be starting in Autumn 2022.