Apple should buy Nintendo. Just think about that for a second, because after a little bit of thought the transaction makes perfect sense. Apple currently has an estimated worth of $153.3 billion dollars, which means that purchasing the Japanese giant is absolutely possible for Steve Jobs and his merry band of wealthy cohorts.
Rumors of Apple’s interest in buying-out the oldest console manufacturer still in the game aren’t anything new, and the company certainly has an insane amount of set-aside spending money ($51 Billion to be precise) that they are looking to invest. Rumors were flying late last year that Apple was keen on buying-out Sony, Electronic Arts, or even Netflix, but they didn’t end up with any high-profile acquisitions. Instead, they’ve been sitting on their money, and they’re waiting for some better, and as Steve Jobs has stated,”more strategic opportunities in the future.”
Given that the Big N’s stock is recovering after hitting the lowest it’s been in five years, now is as good a time as ever for a wealthy corporation to swoop in and snatch them up. Nintendo has expressed their disinterest in selling out in the past, but money (especially insane amounts of it) can usually persuade even the the most stubborn of shareholders. There’s no debating that Apple has the money to purchase Nintendo but the real question is “Why would they even want to?” I’m glad you asked.
Both companies are aficionados of innovation – and each has changed the market in their own ways.
The Wii brought gaming to the masses with its innovative (and accessible) motion controls, and the popularity of Nintendo’s creation spawned competitors in the form of the PlayStation Move and Kinect. Apple has done the same, but on a larger playing field. The iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers have all raised the technological bar — the iPad in particular essentially spawned the tablet market. The two companies share some very similar philosophies on the surface, but there are a few things within each corporate entity that both companies could stand to mutually benefit from.
There’s no denying that Nintendo has been through a rough time recently, and that’s because of the Wii’s sudden sales drop and the lacklustre performance of the Nintendo 3DS. The below-average sales for the company does significantly more damage to Nintendo, because, unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo doesn’t have anything else to fall back on. They don’t sell computers, televisions, digital cameras, etc., so when one product they release doesn’t sell well it hurts them a lot more than their competitors. Apple — on the other hand — hasn’t been struggling to move any of its products for quite some time, and that’s the kind of financial security that Nintendo would love to have.
Apple has expressed interest in breaking into the video game market in the past, and they certainly have the money to make one of the most powerful pieces of hardware available on the market — something they could easily create without Nintendo. However, there’s still a major fault in Apple’s logic if they think they can just enter into the gaming arena – without any platform exclusive software.
Nintendo has the largest back catalogue of instantly recognizable characters and franchises out of any other company in the video game market. Everything from Animal Crossing to Zelda is known by hardcore and casual audiences alike, and that’s because Nintendo is one of the most recognizable brand names currently on the market.
Because of Nintendo’s instantly recognizable franchises and extremely popular games, they obviously have a rather large and loyal pre-installed fan base. That could be seen as very appealing to Apple if they really are interested in breaking out into the video game industry, because they simply wouldn’t be able to create an exclusive franchise — let alone several dozen — that are even remotely as popular and well-known as the extensive library currently behind Nintendo. This way Apple isn’t stuck building up a console with exclusive franchises that may or may not take-off – because they’d already have their hands on some licenses that they know can move units.
Some may argue that Apple is already dipping into the games industry with the App Store, and that’s correct to a certain extent. Those who just want gaming on the go can settle with playing games like Cut the Rope and Tiny Wings on their iPhones – and those people won’t end up spending money on a 3DS or PSVita. Those who went out and purchased a handheld gaming system for the sole purpose of gaming, however, want something a little deeper than Angry Birds. That’s exactly why Nintendo doesn’t consider Apple competition, because the consoles and games they make appeal to the masses for different reasons.
Apple is raking in the cash with their App Store, but the thing is that almost none of the games on the service were made by them. They receive a very small amount of money from those 99 cent games, and while it’s enough to earn a profit, they could by making way more if they had first party games (which they could advertise all over iTunes for absolutely nothing). It’s something that Apple is going to have to get into soon, because there’s simply too much profit to make by doing so.
One of the many concerns that Nintendo fans have about the possibility of a buy-out is that the Nintendo brand name, and all of its current consoles, would die off – but those fears are mostly unfounded. Apple isn’t going to grab a currently struggling, yet very successful and resilient, company such as Nintendo and betray its core group of followers by dumping all the licenses they just obtained onto their own hardware. That would be counterproductive and cost even more money than they would need to or want to spend.
Nintendo would remain doing exactly what they’ve been doing all along – but now they’d be able to get a lot more help whenever they need it.
Nintendo has fallen behind with their technology, and they plan on catching up with the recently announced Wii U. However, Nintendo has never created a high definition console before, and the lack of actual game footage isn’t that encouraging. Apple knows exactly how to load-up hardware with an insane amount of applications and make it appealing to its customers year after year.
Essentially, both companies want to become the center of living rooms across the globe, and what better way to do it than with a device that really does offer everything. AirPlay on the Wii U — done. Syncing your 3DS to your iTunes account — absolutely. People don’t want to go through the hassle of turning everything on and off, and swapping inputs to access different content. People want an all-in-one media device, and many of the companies realize this. That’s why Netflix is available on all three of the major gaming consoles, that’s why ESPN is on the Xbox 360, and that’s why Apple expanded the iTunes Store to offer apps, television shows, and movies.
It’s a logical step in the evolution of media, and whether or not Apple will eventually take the step into gaming isn’t a question — it’s an inevitability. The real question is if they plan on getting into the market with absolutely no experience, or if they plan on seeking help from Nintendo; a company who is already a very well-respected and widely-known authority in the gaming industry.
Do you think Apple should buy-out Nintendo? Do you think the two corporations would make a good match?
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