Bandai Co., Ltd. (株式会社バンダイ) is a Japanese toy company that produced the Pippin Atmark and @WORLD consoles through its subsidiary, Bandai Digital Entertainment. Bandai also produced consoles for Katz Media as an OEM.
In 1947, Japanese war veteran Naoharu Yamashina (山科 直治) began distributing toys in Tokyo while working for a textile wholesale business operated by his brother in law. Yamashina spun off this business into Bandai-ya in July 1950, deriving the name from a Chinese phrase that translates to "things that are eternal." Its first original Bandai product, the Rhythm Ball, was released in September 1950. Bandai began exporting products in March 1951 and adopted its present shortened name in May 1961. Yamashina's son Makoto became the president of Bandai in May 1980.
Bandai first entered into the computer gaming industry in July 1983 with the RX-78 microcomputer. Tag Team Match: MUSCLE was released in November 1985 for the Nintendo Family Computer and became Bandai's first big video game hit, selling over a million copies. Bandai's first original console, the Playdia (プレイディア), was released in Japan in September 1994. Bandai rapidly expanded its business in the 1990's with the success of its Sailor Moon and Power Rangers franchises.
Bandai and Pippin
On December 13, 1994 in Tokyo, Apple Computer announced its partnership with Bandai to develop the Pippin. Bandai CEO Makoto Yamashina (山科 誠) selected the Pippin platform as the basis of their new game system due to the ease of use of Apple's Macintosh computers. Yamashina stated that Bandai was aiming for annual sales of at least 500,000 units, which it hoped to accomplish through direct sales like Dell's business model. Mitsubishi Electric was contracted to manufacture 30,000 units per month, with the option to raise output to meet demand.
Bandai promoted the new Pippin platform at Macworld Expo Tokyo '95 and the 1995 Tokyo Toy Show. A private launch presentation was held on October 16 in Ebisu, Shibuya, where software titles from about 20 developers were demonstrated on hardware prototypes. Bandai intended to have Pippin consoles ready for the 1995 Christmas shopping season, but fell behind schedule. $93 million was spent on marketing and development leading up to the launch of the Pippin Atmark in March 1996. However, Apple was struggling with managerial dysfunction at the time and ceded control of Pippin developer support to Bandai on September 1, 1996. Apple laid off 4,100 employees in March 1997 as its Macintosh business was failing.
Bandai Digital Entertainment held "Business Solution Seminars" on November 29, 1996 and February 20, 1997 to promote the Pippin Atmark to businesses in Japan, which included case studies of its use in hotels and as display kiosks. Yuji Hirano, president of Bandai Digital Entertainment USA, denied a report by Nihon Keizai Shinbun on May 11, 1997 that Bandai would withdraw the Pippin platform. On the next day, Bandai halted manufacturing of new consoles due to poor sales. By June 1997, Apple was making plans to suspend Pippin development. To counter negative reports from consumer market, Bandai organized a Pippin @WORLD Business Unit in the United States to refocus the platform towards vertical markets such as corporate intranets.
By the time Bandai withdrew the consoles from the market in March 1998, fewer than 30,000 and 12,000 units were sold in Japan and the United States, respectively. Over 50,000 unsold units remained in inventory and Bandai's losses from the Pippin were estimated at US$ 214 million (JP¥ 26 billion), leading to concerns over the possibility of bankruptcy. Bandai ended support for the consoles on December 31, 2002.
Bandai after Pippin
Bandai was aided in its recovery by the breakout success of its Tamagotchi digital pets, which had been launched in November 1996. Tamagotchi CD-ROM was quickly developed and released for Macintosh, PC and Pippin in 1997. By 2010, 76 million of the virtual pets had been sold.
Bandai merged with Namco in September 2005 and presently operates as a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings. Masaru Kawaguchi (川口 勝), who had previously been assigned to the section overseeing the Pippin Atmark project, later joined the board of directors and became the president of Bandai.
- Bandai Digital Entertainment Company (BDE or BDEC) was established in October 1995 to publish software titles for Pippin consoles in Japan and the United States. Some cross-platform titles were also released for Macintosh and Windows. BDEC was dissolved on March 13, 1998 with the abandonment of the Pippin platform. Its facilities and staff were absorbed by other divisions of Bandai, which continued to provide support for existing users.
- Bandai Music Entertainment is primarily a music publisher that released only one title for the Pippin — Dinosaur Museum featuring pop singer Agnes Chan.
- Bandai Visual produced anime, film, and music content which were often distributed under its Emotion label.
- Banpresto produced toys and games specifically for the Japanese convenience store market. After the Playdia platform was discontinued in 1996, Banpresto repurposed the unsold consoles into coin-operated kinetoscopes called Micha King (みちゃ王) that played anime clips in Japanese arcades. The division was dissolved in February 2019 and merged into Bandai Spirits.
- Emotion Digital Software is a label that published titles for platforms other than the Pippin.
- Bandai Pippin FAQ, The Mac Geek. Accessed 2017-04-10.
- Bandai and Katz Media announce cooperation to develop European Pippin Market, Katz Media. Archived on 1997-07-13.
- Bandai Co., Ltd. History, Funding Universe. Accessed 2019-02-26.
- Bandai founder left 2.65 billion yen estate, The Japan Times. 1998-10-12.
- BANDAI's History - 1950's, Bandai Co., Ltd. Archived 2013-04-01.
- BANDAI's History - 1960's, Bandai Co., Ltd. Archived 2013-04-02.
- BANDAI's History - 1980's, Bandai Co., Ltd. Archived 2013-04-02.
- ＲＸ－７８－ＧＵＮＤＡＭ （バンダイ：１９８３）, K's Dee(ケイズ・ディー)の『パソコン博物館』. 2007-09-30.
- TVゲームの歴史 - プレイディア, GameForest. 2007-01-12.
- BANDAI's History - 1990's, Bandai Co., Ltd. Archived 2013-04-02.
- Power Rangers Maker Moving U.S. Office to Cypress by Greg Miller and Bill Billiter, Los Angeles Times. 1996-08-16.
- Interview - 'We Sell Dreams to Kids' by Cesar Bacani and Murakami Mutsuko, CNN. 1996-04-19.
- INNOVATION : Apple's Pippin Plays Video Games, Plugs Into TV Set by David Holley, Los Angeles Times. 1994-12-14.
- Bandai adopts direct sales model for Atmark Pippin, Computer Business Review. 1996-03-18.
- Macworld TV Tokyo 1995 by KandaNewsNetwork,Inc., YouTube. 2013-08-29.
- 1995年東京おもちゃショー オーレンジャー ビーファイター (Japanese) by kbigstone, YouTube. 2013-01-19.
- Pippin発表会リポート (Japanese), Apple/Mac Technology Lab. 1995-10-16.
- 'Morphing' Into The Toy World's Top Ranks by Andrew Pollack, The New York Times. 1995-03-12.
- Power Ranger - A Japanese Toymaker Invades Cyberspace by Cesar Bacani and Murakami Mutsuko, CNN. 1996-04-19.
- The Mac gaming console that time forgot by Richard Moss, Ars Technica. 2018-03-24.
- Pippin News: Bandai Takes Responsibility for Pippin Developer Support in the United States, The Apple Pippin Market Development Group. 1996-09-01. Archived 1997-04-14.
- Business Solution Seminor(sic) (Japanese), Bandai Digital Entertainment. 1997-02-17. Archived 1997-06-27.
- What's New? 5月11日付け日本経済新聞 「バンダイピピン撤退」の記事について (Japanese), Atmark Channel Home Page. Archived 1997-06-29.
- Bandai Stops Making Pippin Atmark Machines, Wall Street Journal. 1997-05-12.
- Katz Media continues with Pippin, Telecom.paper. 1997-07-25.
- Pippin @World gets Ethernet, CNET News. 1997-05-21. Archived 2004-11-25.
- Background of BDE, Studio02. Accessed 2018-06-25.
- Bandai Says Goodbye to Pippin by Chris Johnston, GameSpot. 1998-02-27. Archived 1998-12-05.
- Bandai kisses goodbye to Pippin console., Screen Digest. 1998-03-01.[DEAD LINK]
- アップルと開発、ゲーム機で大失敗 (Japanese), 日本経済新聞 (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun). 2017-06-06.
- On the Apple PiPP!N by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels. 2012-11-18.
- 成为财团B之前，万代在做什么？ (Chinese) by 程明, Zhihu. 2018-01-07.
- Background by Jef Samp, Critical Thoughts About Tamagotchi. 2001-01-18.
- Pippinは元気です！ From B.D.E by 松山由美子, MacWeek / Japan. 1997-02-20. Archived 1998-12-01.
- Tamagotchi iD L (PDF), Bandai (Japanese). 2011-02-01.
- Bandai WonderSwan 101: A Beginner's Guide, Racketboy. 2007-07-06.
- Bandai WonderSwan (1999 – 2003), Museum of Obsolete Media. Accessed 2019-01-07.
- Bandai, Namco to merge in Sept to form Japan's No 3 toy, game group, Forbes. 2005-05-02. Archived 2011-08-14.
- Company Overview of BANDAI Co., Ltd., Bloomberg. Accessed 2018-07-13.
- テレビワークスPOP その仕様差は・・・ (Japanese) by MAISON PiPPiN, GeoCities. Archived 2000-03-07.
- Le problème avec les jeux Pippin : on en découvre régulièrement (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2019-01-13.
- Bandai Visual, Sega Retro. Accessed 2018-09-21.
- Toy Company Banpresto Dissolves, Combines With Bandai Spirits by Jennifer Sherman, Anime News Network. 2019-02-22.
- みちゃ王用ディスク。 (Japanese) by じろのすけ, Twitter. 2017-04-27.
- Video Games Densetsu by VGDensetsu, Tumblr. 2017-04-04.
- Emotion Digital Software, MobyGames. Accessed 2018-09-21.
- Bandai official Japanese homepage (archived 1996-10-29)
- Bandai America official English website (archived 1997-06-18)
- Bandai America, Inc. at MobyGames
- Bandai Co., Ltd. (Company) at Giant Bomb
- Bandai Co., Ltd. at MobyGames
- Bandai at the Internet Movie Database
- Bandai at the Playdia Wiki
- Bandai at the WonderSwan Wiki
- Bandai at Wikipedia