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Namco plans international entertainment restaurant chain

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Think Namco, think Pac-Man and Golden Age. But how about arcade themed restaurants to keep the kids and partner occupied?

According to Polygon, the arcade and video-game developer made famous for the Pac-Man series, is planning a series of upscale restaurants in the United States. As a means to give the arcade business a new lease of life, Namco Entertainment is currently in the process of designing this new restaurant, with the ultimate aim of creating an international chain.

The initial establishment, a "restaurant-centered, destination entertainment concept" has been floated as a prototype hosted in Chicago in partnership with a restaurateur in Kansas City. Confirmed by Namco Entertainment Inc. official David Bishop, the company said:

"It's no secret that we've been exploring a number of new business models and noodling the future of Out-of-Home entertainment for several years now, and our current planning does include an 'upscale' restaurant with 'entertainment elements'. And yes, we've been working with an established American restaurateur, as well as some other really talented external professionals, to develop the concept."

Originally codenamed Level 256 in deference to the original Pac-Man and Dig-Dug game titles, although no time frame has been given to complete the build, Namco does have a history when it comes to dipping in restaurants, nightclubs and gaming, and hopes to make an official announcement on the prototype soon.

In 1999, the firm developed a prototype cafe including a Pac-Man gaming area, and although the design was a failure, as arcade operators begin to fade into the background, they have to look at new ways to boost revenue.

There are a number of restaurants and cafes with gaming themes in Japan, and when you consider outlets like Chuck E. Cheese, a potentially new business model may help keep Namco solvent in the face of stiff competition and home gaming.

(via Polygon)

Image credit: Juan Fernandez

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— By on January 4, 2013, 1:40 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure