Masaya Nakamura founded the company as Nakamura Manufacturing in 1955, based in Tokyo. The business eventually expanded throughout the Tokyo area. Nakamura Manufacturing was reorganized in 1958 and later underwent a name change to Nakamura AmusementMachine Manufacturing Company, which would be used to form the acronym "NAMCO."
In 1978 Namco opened a subsidiary, Namco America, in the United States.
After Namco bought the film studio Nikkatsu in 1993, Nakamura became involved in film production and was credited as executive producer on a number of Nikkatsu movies.
In 1996, Namco acquired a controlling share of the Japanese film company Nikkatsu, but its interest would be sold during the merger with Bandai.
In September 2005, Namco merged with Bandai to become "Namco Bandai Holdings", the 3rd largest video game entity in Japan. On March 31, 2006, Namco's game development operations absorbed that of Bandai's. From then on, the part of the company that was most closely associated with the Namco label would become Namco Bandai Games. The Namco Ltd. name was retained by its Japanese arcade management division, and now operates as part of Namco Bandai's Amusement Facility SBU.