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Bandai considers character merchandising as their core business model. The developed characters are promoted through server entertainment vetures such as toys, card products, plastic models, game software, animated TV-series and confectionery. Main product lines are Mobile Suit Gundam, Digimon, Power Rangers and Tamagotchi.
Bandai Co., Ltd. was established in July 1950 and sold celluloid, metallic toys and rubber swimming rings. Astro Boy was their first toy that is based on a TV-character.
In 1980 they launched the Gundam plastic model toy series which became a huge success and surpassed 100 million units in cumulative sales in 1984 and 300 million in 1999.
In 1978 Bandai Publishing was established and their first electronic game success was LSI Baseball. The Moblie Suit Gundam computer game series became another huge success topping 20 million sales in 2004.
Not only has Bandai provided intellectual property that would be used in video games and developed its own video game titles, but Bandai has also attempted to make a couple of forays into the video game console space over their history. In 1994 the company introduced the Playdia a video game console that was only released in Japan. This console's titles mainly consisted of quiz games, anime based video games and multimedia edutainment titles from Bandai properties such as Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball. The system was never released in any other regions and Bandai itself was the only company to support it with software game titles. In 1999, Bandai would introduce the WonderSwan portable gaming device to compete with Nintendo's Game Boy handheld. In fact the device was designed by the original creator of the Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi. This device did see support from other video game makers over its history.
In 2005 Bandai spun off their computer games division and established Bandai Games Inc.