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Namco Bandai to open Vancouver and Singapore studios in June

Namco Bandai will open a Vancouver studio in June along with a new branch in Singapore, the company announced today.

Namco Bandai Vancouver will primarily develop next-generation entertainment and online social games for North American and European regions. The studio will also work with local educational organizations and companies on projects.

The Vancouver and Singapore operations will include employees from the respective countries with support from Namco's Tokyo office. The Canadian studio will work with local education institutions and British Columbia's government to recruit employees.

"As we build our global development network, we are very honored and excited to have found Canada as our partner," said Hajime Nakatani, CEO, Namco Bandai Studios. "British Columbia has demonstrated a deep understanding of the digital media and game industries, especially in Vancouver, which has a long history as a pioneer in game development. This makes it a perfect choice for our first step forward in establishing our global network.

"I am confident that we will be able to achieve new and amazing feats in Canada, thanks to its great talent pool, leading edge academic and research institutions and pro-business federal and provincial governments."

The digital media industry-focussed The Centre for Digital Media (CDM), a post-graduate school run by four universities in the region, will be the studio's home.

"The Centre for Digital Media, a collaboration of UBC, SFU, Emily Carr and BCIT, is thrilled to have Namco Bandai moving into our facility," Richard Smith, director, master of digital media, Centre for Digital Media. "The connections with our students - and project and educational opportunities that we are exploring - are already paying off."

Namco Bandai's new branch was set up with help from British Columbia's Trade and Investment Office in Tokyo, the Investment and Company Attraction Branch in Vancouver and the Major Investment Office hosting program.

"We identified technology as one of our eight key sectors in Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan," Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour said. "With the opening of a Namco Bandai Games studio in Vancouver, British Columbia continues to see progress in this industry.

"Our province offers a competitive tax credit, access to a highly skilled workforce and supports post-secondary digital media education, training tomorrow's creative talent right in our backyard."

The Canadian city has been home to a fluctuating number of triple-A studios and independent developers, although that number has fallen dramatically as developers leave town in search of better tax breaks in eastern provinces. Earlier this year, Vancouver game development companies, including Slant Six Games, lobbied the government for better tax breaks.

Unfortunately, the Vancouver-based Slant Six Games, developer of multiple SOCOM games and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, laid off an unspecified portion of its workforce today.

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