Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.[a] is a Japanese multinational video game publisher headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo. Its international branches, Bandai Namco Entertainment America and Bandai Namco Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California, and Lyon, France. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings, an entertainment conglomerate.
Bandai Namco Entertainment was formed on 31 March 2006, following a corporate merge between Namco and Bandai on 29 September of the previous year. Originally known as Namco Bandai Games[b], it merged Bandai Games and Namco Networks in January to create Namco Bandai Games America. Namco Bandai Games absorbed Banpresto's video game division in 2008 and dissolved Bandai Networks in 2009.
Development operations were spun off into a new company in 2012, Namco Bandai Studios (now called Bandai Namco Studios), to help create faster development time and tighter cohesion between development teams. Namco Bandai Games was renamed Bandai Namco Games in 2014 and again to Bandai Namco Entertainment a year later.
Bandai Namco Entertainment owns several multi-million video game franchises, including Pac-Man, Tekken, Soulcalibur, Tales, Ace Combat, Taiko no Tatsujin, The Idolmaster, and Dark Souls. Pac-Man himself serves as the official mascot of the company.
The company also owns the licenses to several Japanese media franchises, such as Shonen Jump, Gundam, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Sword Art Online, and the Ultra Series. It is the core publishing and development area of the Bandai Namco Group's "Content Strategic Business Unit" (Content SBU), and the main video game branch of Bandai Namco Holdings.