It's hard to believe, but as of June 1st of 2005 Namco will be celebrating their golden anniversary. A large bash was held in Tokyo recently to commemorate their 50 years in business, where many luminaries from around the industry attended to congratulate Namco on this memorable milestone, including former chairman of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi and Kagemasa Kozuki, the CEO of Konami. Bill Gates and Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Katargi also sent their congratulations via videotape.
During the party, Namco announced that it will be opening a theme-park in Shanghai, China by 2010. They plan to have much of the park up and operational by the time the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games get underway. Those visiting will be able to try out hundreds of games and other attractions.
When Namco first began in 1955 as Nakamura Factory, they were not known for video games but as a manufacturer of fairground rides. During the 1970's Namco acquired several different toy brands from North America and branched out into the amusement and video game markets. Nakamura Factory became Namco in 1977, and was catapulted to the forefront of the video game industry three years later with the release of Pac-Man.