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Bandai Namco Entertainment America has decided to close its office in the Northern California city of Santa Clara and relocate the employees to a new Southern California office.

The North American branch of the Japanese maker of games (known for Japanese role-playing games, fighting games, and arcade classics such as Pac-Man) and toys (Tamagotchi) said it is making the move to enable the company to improve cross collaboration between its digital and physical goods sectors.

Employees have until the end of May to decide whether they will relocate hundreds of miles or not by April of next year. One source familiar with the matter said the decision came out of the blue and upset a majority of the staff, perhaps 150 to 200 people.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Bandai Namco said, “Bandai Namco Entertainment America will be moving its Santa Clara, California-based offices to Southern California. This decision has been made to enable different group companies within the Bandai Namco group to integrate and open new opportunities for cross-collaboration across its entire portfolio in both the digital and physical goods sectors.”

“Many view this essentially like a layoff,” the person said.

Flexible, remote, and work-from-home options are available for those in this office until April 2022. After that, the company expects all employees to join the new offices in Southern California — which have not been established yet — under a hybrid online/in-person schedule.

The employees said that severance and relocation plans are being put together. The new office will be located somewhere between South Los Angeles and Orange County. The staff is being told that full-time remote work will not be an option.

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