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Namco Bandai Owns Loading Screen Mini-Game Copyright

Notice an abundance of loading screen mini-games in Namco Bandai games? It's because they own the copyright for them.

At a recent event, PixlBit saw the latest Namco Bandai-published Dragon Ball: Raging Blast for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This game has a short mini-game that you can play during the loading screen where you drag a cursor around and collect money. Apparently Namco Bandai owns the copyright for the concept according to Timothy Ng, associate public relations manager.

The concept dates back as far as the Ridge Racer series on PlayStation in which you could play Galaxian during loading screens. It has continued in Dragon Ball Z, Tekken and Katamari games.

Ng, who was formerly with Capcom, said that the Bionic Commando team wanted to include a loading screen mini-game, but it got shot down because they would have had to pay Namco Bandai for use of the copyright.



Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

10/07/2009 at 09:50 PM

I've always noticed these little mini-games in Namco titles, but never realized there was actually an associated copyright. Cool idea, but unfortunate that it dissuades other companies from implementing the concept due to licensing fees.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

10/07/2009 at 11:16 PM

They have a copyright on what you do during a loading screen? ROFL! Wow... seriously, did they have to. lol

Jason Ross Senior Editor

10/07/2009 at 11:44 PM

It would be easy enough to bypass this, I'd imagine.

A work-around example would be a game with the objective of organizing the data that's loaded: As data is loaded, you interact with something on screen to represent said data, and then it's less a minigame, and more an interactive visual representation.

A second way is to just have a basic mini-game running the entirety of the time you play the main title. When you press a certain button combo, the mini-game would expand and be playable. Repeating the combination minimizes it. That's the more simple method of doing things that would avoid the copyright, I'd imagine. It would be coincidence that said game could come up during loading screens, and not be a loading-screen mini-game.

Neal Ronaghan Staff Alumnus

10/08/2009 at 11:19 PM

I'm not sure exactly how the copyright is laid out and worded, but I think both of those might still fall under the copyright.

I was and still am very amused by this.

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