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Microsoft should buy Nintendo to make Japan feel better about itself says Financial Times

Microsoft should buy Nintendo to make Japan feel better about itself says Financial Times
What a horrible idea

A Financial Times article suggests that Japan should encourage the sell of Nintendo to a Western company, as a form of ‘shock therapy’.

Of all the many revelations (many of them accidental) from Microsoft’s US legal battle, over whether or not it can buy Activision Blizzard , the one that provoked the most outrage was the revelation that Xbox secretly wanted to buy Nintendo, calling them ‘the prime asset’ .

They didn’t, obviously, but the patronising way in which Xbox boss Phil Spencer described his machinations (since he never expected his comments to be made public) angered many fans. But not, apparently, other business experts.

According to a new Financia Times article, ‘Japan should think about selling Nintendo as both intellectual experiment and shock therapy.’ The logic being that, ‘The more unthinkable such a sale might sound, and the more horrifying the prospect of relinquishing a crown jewel, the more valuable the whole thought process becomes for less flashy troves of corporate excellence.’

The article is essentially a thought experiment – ‘Japan’ can’t sell anything – but it’s written in such a disrespectful tone it also seems as if it’s specifically designed to upset Nintendo fans and gamers in general.

The logic is that the Japanese stock market in general lacks vigour and discourages acquisitions, which the Financial Times, and Western companies, see as a negative.

‘A sale process of Nintendo would be transformative – not least because it might convince consolidation-resistant Japanese companies to seek scale and protection through mergers,’ reads the article .

As far as the Financial Times is concerned it doesn’t necessarily have to be Microsoft that buys Nintendo, with Disney, Apple, Google, and Sony also suggested as possible suitors.

‘For Japan as a whole, the intensely high profile of a Nintendo sale would finally crystallise the sense of how undervalued many of its crown jewels really are – and how many smaller jewels are being sold to private equity and others at bargain prices.’

It’s suggested that the sale could be the equivalent of when Sony bought Columbia Pictures in 1989, which was seen as a wake-up call to America, as to the size and ambition of Japanese companies.

‘There is a risk that Japan’s stock market has painted itself into a corner where only disruption will do. Until this actually comes, the country could do worse than think about how positive a disruptive Nintendo sale might be,’ concludes the article.



At no point does it consider what affect this might have on the games industry, with its only concern being that it reenergises the Japanese stock market and makes Japanese companies in general more open to mergers and acquisitions – essentially that Nintendo should be sacrificed as an example to others.

It’s all very grotesque but it is only a suggestion, that is not necessarily to be taken seriously. What it also illustrates though is how uncaring the corporate mentality is towards the companies it buys, with no concern paid to the fact that Nintendo doesn’t want to be bought and works much better as an independent company.

Phil Spencer discusses buying Nintendo (Picture: Microsoft)

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