Microsoft Should Buy Nintendo

Microsoft has $60 billion in offshore cash that they aren’t likely to repatriate for tax reasons. They just spent $7 billion of it on Nokia. Now they should buy Nintendo. It might take $20 billion or more given Nintendo’s current market cap of about $14 billion. That’s a relative bargain given Nintendo’s library and it is a much better purchase than Gung Ho (Puzzles and Dragons) which has a higher market cap. The potential upside for Microsoft is enormous for its console and phone businesses.

Hear me out.

The take some of Nintendo’s hardware team and put them on the phone team. Their focus would be making the phone a better gaming device. It would still be a phone or tablet first though.

They then take all of Nintendo’s beloved titles and make them Microsoft exclusives on the next generation of Windows Phones and on the Xbox One. This will cause all the kids (and a significant number of adults) to want Windows Phones so they can play Mario games, Zelda, Metroid, and, of course, Pokemon. Since these games would only be on Windows Mobile it has the potential to drive significant adoption by the most influential audience – the young.

When Microsoft launched the Xbox, it bought Bungie to get Halo. Halo has continued to drive Xbox adoption. Nintendo would be an even bigger play with the potential to dramatically alter the phone wars by giving a large block of gamers a huge incentive to switch to a Windows Phone.

Not only would this purchase dramatically shift the balance of power in the smartphone wars, it would also dramatically alter the battlefield that is the living room. The next generation of consoles, generally framed as Xbox One vs. Sony’s PS4 but including Nintendo’s Wii U on its periphery, is not just about games. It is also about the future of television and video content.  Winning this battle is critical for Microsoft and Nintendo would be a game changer (pun intended).   The reason this generation of the console wars is even more critical to Microsoft is because of the looming war for the television with Apple, Google, Android (I mention them separately from Google because there will be other significant players in the ecosystem such as Samsung, Amazon, and things like Ouya), and others (Intel for example).

This iteration of the console war may also determine a big part of the future of tethered communications: video calls. Xbox One + Kinect should become a de facto video conferencing system. Imagine families connecting via room sized video conferences – this can be done right now with these consoles. Microsoft SHOULD own this space with the combination of Xbox One and Skype. Throw Nintendo into the mix and it would almost certainly win the next generation console wars, and hence the living room, for Microsoft.

Not to mention the synergy between Xbox One and Windows Phone:  games that cross over, games that use Windows Phone as a secondary control, deep second screen integration, and cross platform video conferencing, just to name a few.  A Microsoft acquisition of Nintendo would either accelerate the development or adoption of all of these things.

 


4 Comments

  • Reply Rudy |

    I been wanting this to happen since I first heard of the possibility back in 2004. I think microsoft have tried to do this 3 times in the past. Back in 1999 or 2000, then in 2004, and then again in 2008 but unfortunately nintendo have said no each time. I think the nintendo ceo even told the microsoft rep to suck his small yellow balls lol. Nintendo have had said time and time again that it would never sell because it would consider it the worst thing to happen to Japan since World War 2. On a sidenote, Microsoft even considered buying sega at the time. The Japanese never quit till its too late, sadly I see nintendo going bankrupt before selling if it would ever happen. Maybe one day microsoft will convince them to sell. I wouldn’t mind them buying both nintendo and sega and make them exclusives on xbox to beat sony.

  • Reply Steven |

    Not to mention that Microsoft could use some of the proprietary patents of Nintendo in order to differentiate the gaming experience of Xbox One from PS4. A new controller similar to the wii u controller. MiiVerse could be combined with xbox live using the est of both platforms. A 3DSXL device that functions as a smart phone e.g. Video Conferencing, two apps open simultaneously on two screens, etc. I would just hope the WiiX or WiiBox console to be an accelerated roll out. Xbox One is already a bit of a disappointment.

  • Reply Steven |

    Also, it would be a defensive move. If Apple bought Nintendo with there equally huge hoard of idle cash it would be game over. They could easily bring all of the functionality of the appleTV to the WiiU with nothing more than a software update. The iPad could have some awesome integration capabilities with WiiU. Also, Nintendo Mobile games would be exclusive to Apple devices. The next-gen 3DS would be something like an iPod Touch mixed with a 3DS ie awesome.

  • Reply Brett |

    It would be the best thing ever! Gaming is good now, but add nintendo games to xb1 and you have a mind blowing combination. The xbox’s online connectivity with Nintendo games? HELL YES. The kinect 2.0 would allow Nintendo to bring so much more innovative games. Sony cant do the same, Microsoft is the absolute best choice. Apple devices would be good for some games, but nowhere near the xbox’s potential. My mind just explodes thinking about it.

So, what do you think ?