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Adventure into Digital Play

Evolving its classic arcade game centres to immersive experience, NAMCO launches its first overseas digital indoor playground in Hong Kong.

When NAMCO entered the Hong Kong market nearly 45 years ago, it was a time when electronics were still new additions to mostly mechanical pinball machines in arcade game centres. Yet this golden age of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders was on the cusp of digitalisation about to impact everything from graphics to game logistics. NAMCO has evolved with its customers, and is launching new concepts to address their needs. 

A sophisticated consumer market 
“DOCODOCO is a new type of playground that combines digital and physical games,” explained Shuichi Kikuchi, Namco Enterprises Asia’s President. “The target age is six months to 12 years old, and they can play games both digitally and in physical spaces. We chose LOHAS Park to launch DOCODOCO as there are many young families with children there. Since we opened in February 2021, it has been very popular and we have had more visitors than expected.” In March 2021, NAMCO opened a large amusement arcade with an indoor playground named Asobi Park PLUS in tmtplaza, Tuen Mun. “We launched six outlets so far since last year, with a goal to increase up to 30 outlets in Hong Kong in the future,” revealed Kikuchi. 

Kikuchi sees Hong Kong as a good testing ground for new games thanks to the people’s highly curious nature. “It is an international city,” he stated. “People are willing to try new things and have high consumption motivation. When we bring new concepts from Japan, people react quickly in Hong Kong. The consumption of games has changed in these past five years, therefore we have introduced various new amusement concepts from Japan (for example, Asobi Park PLUS indoor playground that offers interactive play zones; SPORTAINMENT ARENA that combines sports and digital entertainment; and DOCODOCO digital playground) to create unique entertainment experiences for Hong Kong customers while at the same time providing playgrounds for children that are safe and carefree.”

Winning through collaboration
In Hong Kong, NAMCO operates predominantly in shopping malls and views itself as their partner to help attract customers over the long term. NAMCO also serves as a great partner for consumer brands, for instance, its crane machines and other prize games in the amusement arcades are good channels for brands to promote their products to children and families. “We would also consider partnership with kindergartens and learning centres in Hong Kong that are interested in using our digital playground for extracurricular activities with kids and parents,” Kikuchi added. 

NAMCO enjoys many advantages in Hong Kong, including the city’s low tax regime and a free port that is conducive to the import of goods. In particular, he highly praised Hong Kong consumers and employees. “Hong Kong customers are very welcoming and supportive to service operators such as NAMCO,” Kikuchi noted. “On the other hand, our staff in Hong Kong are very proactive at work and their customer service standard is on par with our staff in Japan. This creates a win-win relationship which makes business expansion possible in the city.”

After living in Hong Kong for three years, Kikuchi has grown to enjoy his new home: “When I was in Japan, I imagined Hong Kong as a city of skyscrapers. But I have discovered that nature is very rich here, and I like the outdoors. Hong Kong is a great environment both for living and business.”

03.05.2021

Fast Facts

  • NAMCO began operations in 1955 with the installation of two rocking horse rides on a department store rooftop. Increasing popularity of arcade video games fueled growth in the 60s and 70s. Its Pac-Man game was a huge hit in the 80s.
  • Namco Enterprises Asia is the company’s Hong Kong subsidiary established in 1977. It employs 175 people with 11 amusement arcade outlets in the city operated under different brands including NAMCO, Asobi Park PLUS, SPORTAINMENT ARENA and DOCODOCO.

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