A reader is convinced a combined Sony and Nintendo is the only way to compete with Microsoft and other tech giants like Google and Apple.
We’ve all had a good laugh at Google admitting that it’s shutting down their streaming service Stadia, but to be honest it’s news that worries me greatly. While they were wasting time with that, they were no threat to gaming but now that they’ve stopped my concern is what they’re going to do next. Gaming is a big enough business that they aren’t going to just ignore it now, because of one setback. No, they’re going to do the more obvious, and far more destructive, thing of buying up companies that have managed to do what they could not.
Google and Microsoft are two of the biggest companies in the world, so there’s really no limit on who they could buy. Money isn’t a question and I’m sure monopoly investigations aren’t going to be either. If a company doesn’t want to be bought that will slow things down but hostile takeovers are totally a thing, so that’s not going to stop them for long.
When Amazon’s Luna service fails (if it’s not already assumed to have) they’re likely to think in the same manner, just as they did when they bought Twitch. If Google does it first, they’ll only be more incentivised, which will probably draw in Apple too, and who knows how many other companies. Gaming as we know it will be chopped up and sold as commodities to companies that neither know nor care anything about the products they make, only that they don’t want their rivals to own them.
The trend is already well on the way, with Microsoft already poised to make Call Of Duty an exclusive in the shortest amount of time possible, based on the half-truths and vague promises they’ve give the world’s various governments.
Other publishers are just sitting waiting for it to be their turn, with once proud companies like EA, Ubisoft, and Take-Two practically begging to bought up, so their execs can add a few more zeros to their bank balance. (Ordinary workers will immediately face the worry of redundancies that always accompanies sales such as this.)
Many have noted that this sort of thing doesn’t tend to happen with Japanese companies and there is a misapprehension that it is impossible for a foreign company to buy a Japanese one. This is not true. There might be a bit more red tape but it happens all the time and there’s no law against. What does tend to happen with Japanese companies though is that they usually merge with others, in order to avoid an unwanted takeover. It’s not ideal but it’s better than just being bought up as an impulse purchase by some uncaring multinational.
That’s why so many Japanese companies have double-barrelled names: Bandai Namco, Koei Tecmo, Spike Chunsoft, Sega Sammy, and even Square Enix. All were once single companies before merging into one giant one, in order to better compete with ever larger rivals.
My headline has obviously given away what I’m getting at here, but I strongly believe Sony Nintendo should be next. Whether they merge or Sony buys Nintendo (as happened with Sega Sammy, when one company was much bigger than the other) isn’t really important, what does matter though is that they’re two companies that are strongly invested in and fully understand games, and won’t just end up as the 49th most important subsidiary of Google or Apple.
Sony cannot compete with Microsoft in terms of money, we’ve already seen that, and that is going to be more and more of a problem as streaming and Game Pass style subscriptions begin to dominate gaming. Nintendo has a lot more money than they let on but they’re painfully slow to adopt new technology and I fear they’ll only realise how far behind they’ve got when it’s too late.
There’s very little crossover between the two companies in terms of tech or exclusive games, so I feel they would complement each other very well. They’d also be able to properly support the third party scene in Japan and perhaps even end up buying other publishers, in order to keep them out of the hands of other tech rivals.
I’d prefer all these companies remained separate and independent, but that time is over and instead we have to consider the least worst option for who owns who. I strongly believe that Sony Nintendo, as a merged company, would be the best deterrent possible against non-gaming companies buying up the entirety of the games industry.
By reader Fido