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Namco Bandai opens its Vancouver studio

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Namco Bandai has opened its new Vancouver-based studio which will focus on the development of mobile and online games, The Vancouver Sun reports.

The new Canadian studio, situated in Vancouver's Center for Digital Media, houses roughly 30 staff members as of its opening. According to Namco Bandai president Hajime Nakatani, the Japanese company decided to set up the studio in Vancouver becase of the number of digital artists and engineers in the region.

"One of the things that is attractive about Canada, I think, is the people are just as skilled and they are less likely to jump ship and disappear like in San Francisco or LA," said Center director Richard Smith.

"And, importantly for Bandai, it can be a team of North Americans that can help them design games that North Americans want to play."

While Vancouver was once a fast-growing hub for games development, this trajectory was thwarted in 2008 thanks to the global economy. Over the past few years a number of Vancouver-based studios have moved to the neighboring provinces of Quebec and Ontario due to better provincial tax breaks offered in those regions. In later years, large mainstream developers have all but disappeared from the Vancouver scene, leaving a rise of independent developers in its wake.

Namco Bandai announced its plans for a Vancouver studio earlier in the year. At that time the company said it would be working on social games.