Cruise lines must balance cost, space and innovation when considering the best entertainment solutions for their vessels. Alex Orban, vice-president of global business development at NAMCO, tells us what makes the electronic entertainment offering ideal for the cruise industry.

NAMCO has previously stated that entertainment is "constantly evolving". How do you see entertainment’s evolution as it pertains to the cruise industry?

Alex Orban: Entertainment is a fundamental part of the human species. Our cultures and societies have developed and grown in part due to the ways we interact with our environment through entertainment. Art, music and even science have become parts of the human psyche because we allow ourselves to think and interact outside our normal boundaries and routines.

The cruise industry has always fit this form of entertainment, providing a means by which families can travel together and explore areas of the world that they could previously only imagine. This escape to the new and exciting is the backbone of entertainment. The electronic entertainment sector satisfies the same urge to escape and explore – but our solutions offer the opportunity to do so in a virtual world.

What makes electronic entertainment a good match for the cruise industry?

There is a natural symbiosis between the electronic entertainment industry and the cruise industry. For cruise ships to engage and hold the interest of their passengers, they must be constantly seeking the next wave of entertainment-based innovation. On the confines of a ship, however, it is difficult to continually reinvent the offered attractions: many activities (such as zip lines, wave pools and kart tracks) occupy large spaces, while others may be cost-prohibitive and untested.

The electronic entertainment sector offers cost-effective, small-footprint, easily updated forms of entertainment. This enables quick demographic and seasonal changes to be made to a portion of a ship’s entertainment.

NAMCO (part of the BANDAI-NAMCO Group) is a leader in the world of electronic entertainment, always creating new products and intellectual property to benefit its clients. By listening to partners’ needs and adapting new technologies to satisfy those needs, NAMCO stays ahead of its competitors, prioritising innovation, intuition and imagination.

How does NAMCO ensure its products remain operational despite the constant movement of a cruise ship?

As a global company, NAMCO has the ability to service its products, and provide parts and rotation, from any port around the world. It works closely with individual cruise lines and individual ships to ensure that the products it provides always remain operational.

If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to provide true, continuous entertainment to the cruise-going public – and that would go against one of our principle missions as a company: to put smiles on people’s faces.

What innovation is on the horizon for cruise lines from NAMCO?

NAMCO can currently offer a variety of products, ranging from the standard video, merchandiser and redemption equipment to novel virtual-reality (VR) programmes. NAMCO can produce, for example, a virtual beach, projected on actual sand, in a programme that is equally captivating for adults and children. There is also a new VR programme, currently on display in Tokyo, which allows the player to not only see a 3D VR world, but also interact with it.