Well, it has been a little while, hasn’t it? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have returned from my brief sabbatical to the edge of the Earth and am ready to get back to bringing you some quality article action. There have been plenty of things to talk about recently, but there has been one bit of news I found the most interesting. It seems Capcom has been not been doing too well recently, unbeknownst to me, with the possibility of a hostile takeover now being possible. Speculation has been rumbling a bit around the gaming industry as to what this may mean, including the possibility of an acquisition by retro-favorite Nintendo. It’s a fun idea, but is this even possible? And what would it even look like?
First off, let us just establish the state of Nintendo. While the Wii U is performing nowhere near as well as its predecessor, Nintendo, as a company, is still doing quite well. They currently have about $10.5 billion in the bank in which to sustain them during the current rough patch being faced by the Wii U. In fact, things are starting to look up after Nintendo’s strong showing at this year’s E3, with sales of their latest console rising as much as 666% in markets such as the UK, resulting in Satoru Iwata recently being re-elected CEO by Nintendo’s board of directors. So, theoretically speaking, Nintendo could actually attempt a buyout of a major third-party such as Capcom as a way of re-attracting both hardcore gamers wanting to play the latest Resident Evil, but old-school Capcom fans who already think of Nintendo whenever they hear the name “Capcom.”
Make no mistake, Capcom being acquired by Nintendo would be a retro-gamer’s dream come true. Many of the classic games we all grew up playing during the days of the NES and SNES have the familiar Capcom logo and/or chime attached to it. Games like Mega Man, the original Bionic Commando, and Ghosts and Goblins all helped to cement Capcom in the minds of gamers as a “Nintendo” company. Sure, Capcom made games for other consoles as well, but if you were to ask any gamer over the age of twenty to name off five Capcom games, chances are they will name games which debuted on a Nintendo console. Mega Man being chosen to appear in the newest Smash Bros. game is proof enough of influence Capcom has had on Nintendo’s history.
Then came the GameCube-era, where the relationship between Capcom and the Big N took a more interesting turn. Way back in 2002, Capcom showed announced five new Gamecube exclusive games as a way to boost hardware sales for Nintendo’s flagging console. Three of these games (Resident Evil 4, Viewtiful Joe, and Killer7) would all become critical darlings, but none were able to provide any significant market share to Nintendo’s purple lunch box. To add more insult to injury, all three of these games were eventually ported to Sony’s Playstation 2, essentially putting the nail in the coffin in Nintendo’s third-party support. After such a debacle, it seemed unlikely any kind of partnership between the two companies would ever happen again.
Fast forward to the modern era, and the rocky love affair between the two companies seems to have evened out a bit. Aside from the aforementioned inclusion of the Blue Bomber in the next Smash Bros. game, one of Capcom’s biggest franchises (in Japan, anyway,) Monster Hunter, has been exclusive to Nintendo-owned consoles for its two most recent installments. A big part of this has to do with the less expensive development budgets required for the Wii/Wii U/3DS. So both Cappy C and the Big N are cool with each other, but is this enough of a reason for Capcom to consider being purchased by their old partner in crime?
From a sales perspective, a Capcom buy out would certainly be advantageous for the House of Mario. The near-abysmal third-party support suffered by the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii continues to plague the company to this day. If Nintendo were to officially absorb a company already associated with their brand, they would essentially be killing two birds with one stone. Not only would Nintendo’s own development teams have something new to experiment with but they would also be giving the Nintendo faithful something different to chew on from the usual Mario/Zelda/Metroid plate.
Over a decade ago, no one though they would ever see a Sonic the Hedgehog game appear on a Nintendo console. Times changed and it is possible they could change again. As Pat the NES Punk mentioned in his podcast, a world where Street Fighter games are released exclusively on Nintendo consoles would be interesting indeed. Or how about a Mega Man developed by Masahiro Sakurai? The possibilities are endless. The real question is if Nintendo is willing to take the risk.