(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Bandai to Launch Network Game Service on Mobile Phones
February 11, 1999 (TOKYO) -- Bandai Co., Ltd., a leading toy maker, announced
that it plans to offer a networked game program on the "iMode" text
data service using mobile phones that Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
Corp. will introduce on Feb. 22.
|Bandai said it hopes the new program will attract a user base of 3 percent
of all iMode subscribers.
NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo) aims at attracting
10 million iMode subscribers in the next three years. Calculated on
that basis, Bandai seeks to have about 300,000 subscribers in three
The game program will be called "DoCo demo aso Vegas." The players will
compete for points by giving correct answers to questions.
Upon subscribing to iMode, participants will pay a monthly fee of 300
yen (US$2.60) to Bandai, to take part in the game. Instructions on the
process for participation will be given on the display screens of iMode-compliant
"Bandai is taking advantage of the iMode system, and by simply changing
the server's contents, we can offer many new services," a Bandai official
Due to the centralized control by a main server, the popularity of each
game can be easily grasped. Additionally, Bandai can leave the task
of collecting fees to NTT DoCoMo.
Services similar to iMode are to be offered by cellular telephone companies
and IDO Corp., beginning in April. Those companies will charge fees
by the unit of time spent in playing the games or quizzes. Bandai has
no plans to do business with them for the time being.
An iMode subscriber is charged by volume of data. The fee is 0.3 yen
per "packet," a send/receive data unit (comprising a maximum of 128
bytes), or about 20 yen to 30 yen per display screen.
If a large volume of data is sent or received, the telephone charge is
likely to increase quickly. "We will closely watch the volume of data
transmission to prevent the fees from skyrocketing," the Bandai official
Bandai's new service is part of the company's strategy to offer a service
to use mobile phones beyond just talking.
The new Bandai service is likely to become a strong support mechanism
for NTT DoCoMo, which is gearing up to start the iMode services.
Related story: NTT
DoCoMo to Launch Text Services for Mobile Phones
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