Namco Arcade delivers try before you buy for Java via Facebook

Free demos playable on social network site

Namco Arcade delivers try before you buy for Java via Facebook
There's no denying that Java games suffer when compared to their App Store counterparts.

However, Namco Bandai is attempting to redress the balance, with a new digital delivery channel on social network behemoth Facebook.

Namco Arcade enables users to play demo versions of the publisher's titles for free on a Facebook app, the likes of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Rolling With Katamari amongst the key releases already utilising the service.

Created in partnership with social network discovery experts Mplayit, Namco Arcade is already being heralded by commentators as a logical next step for Java games, founder turned analyst Rob Fahey telling the app may well set a precedent for others to follow.

"Right now, the Java-based game market has been seriously left behind by the app store model preferred by iPhone and Android," Fahey states. "It faces massive problems with product discovery, trial, and the entire customer experience which are solved on new smartphone devices but not on old handsets.

"This kind of evolution in how they do business is going to be essential if this market sector is going to remain relevant in the future."

With a Facebook userbase of 350 million worldwide, Namco Bandai is clearly hoping Namco Arcade will prove more than a match for the Lite system purveyed by the App Store.

"It's an innovative idea and I can see it doing pretty well for Namco Bandai," Fahey concludes.

"I'd be surprised if other companies in the Java space don't copy it. If mobile game customers begin to migrate to Android and iPhone, moves like this are going to be vital to keeping companies in this sector competitive."

Namco Arcade is also designed to deliver interaction with the consumer, users able to write reviews of demos on the service, as well as share them over other networks, such as Twitter and Digg.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.