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Bandai Namco Reveals New Gundam Metaverse Details

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Gundam Metaverse

While the The Witch from Mercury anime appeared, another other major component of the 3rd Gundam Conference event was 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. Based on a presentation and press release, Bandai Namco intends for it to become a “platform of opportunities” for fans worldwide to connect with each other.

The 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.

Gundam Metaverse

Then, virtual spaces will be constructed. These will be modeled after Gundam‘s signature space colonies. 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 was not specified. Bandai Namco promised 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 like the concept of the Gundam Build Divers anime. Limited access tests for the Gunpla colony are planned for Autumn 2022.

Gunpla Colony

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.

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” it’s 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 building out the Gundam Metaverse in such a way as to preserve “character rights” while expanding the Gundam brand through IP “co-created with fans.”

“C2C” is a 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 “Play-to-Earn” mechanics or NFTs and other forms of digital asset trading. Bandai Namco didn’t specifically mentioned crypto or NFTs in connection to the Gundam Metaverse. In the past, it expressed interest in them.

Side-G

Bandai Namco is planning the first limited tests of the Gundam Metaverse in Autumn 2022.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino helped run Japanator as Managing Editor since 2012, before it and Siliconera teamed up. That said, it's been years since he watched enough anime to keep his otaku license valid. Maybe one day he'll see enough of a given season to pretend to know what's hot. Until then, it's Star Trek reruns, gacha games, and bylines at Destructoid and GameCritics.