The bomb dropped yesterday that Capcom may soon be up for grabs. While I don’t pretend to understand the logistics, basically Capcom’s shareholders decided they were ready and willing to be taken over by another company. I can only assume they wouldn’t do this unless they had someone in particular in mind… but who?
Time for another breakdown:
Sega could use a break and acquiring new ips or another publishing house would be helpful. Unfortunately, Sega really isn’t in the financial position to do this… heck they may be worse off than Capcom is right now.
Konami has been out of the game somewhat. With the exception of the Metal Gear games, Konami hasn’t had too many big hits. Acquiring Capcom and it’s licenses would be a good stepping stone into expanding it’s market again. I’m really not sure if this is possible however. Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Solid Rising Revengence were good, but not ‘it’ll buy us another company’ good.
Square/Enix doesn’t have too many franchises that conflict with Capcom properties, so the new ips could give them some new well-known franchises to play with. Unfortunately, Square/Enix’s acquisition of several overseas studios hasn’t gone as well as they hoped; adding a bunch of franchises that Square/Enix’s studios are familiar with handling may not be the best move. Much like the other publishers I’ve listed, it may be far too expensive as well.
Namco/Bandai are certainly a better fit with many of Capcom’s Intellectual Properties. They are currently working with them on Tekken x Street Fighter also. They are certainly in a better position than most Japanese gaming companies right now, but pulling a takeover may be too costly — especially with the number of other games they are currently invested in.
Tecmo/Koei aren’t in a bad way either. Much like Namco/Bandai they have been playing it safe with many of their recent releases, and have done fairly well so far. I’m not entirely aware of what Tecmo/Koei’s financial status is, however. It’s difficult to judge exactly how likely this is, but I suspect them to pounce if they are certainly able to.
I lumped these together because these are the three biggest publishing houses, and all have an equal shot at this. I can see potentially good things coming from an Ubisoft-Capcom or Activision-Capcom pairing, and am somewhat wary of EA-Capcom. Nevertheless, my understanding is there are some legal conundrums to be had, as all three of these are based in North America; as such, they may not be able to acquire Capcom in such a fashion.
This leaves just the big three:
Microsoft has more than enough to invest in a take-over. It makes some amount of sense too, as the Xbox brand in Japan has been struggling for many years. Adding a number of popular japanese franchises could easily bring them back on top. However, since Microsoft is also an American company, it may not have the option.
This seems like one of the best fits for Capcom. Sony has had good relations with Capcom for many years, and certainly would benefit from having Capcom franchises exclusively on the Playstation 4. As a matter of fact, Capcom’s big next-gen project Deep Down has already been confirmed as a PS4 exclusive in Japan. Being one of the big console companies, it seems like a logical choice. However, Sony hasn’t been doing as well as it would like. The Playstation 4 sold extremely well, but it pretty much had to in order for Sony to stay in the gaming market. Sony other branches haven’t been selling as well either. It’s possible too that Deep Down maybe one of the only projects it sees out of Capcom for awhile. It’s a close-call, but it comes down to whether or not Sony wants to take that risk of investing in something it may not be able to bank on until much later.
This would be an interesting turn of events to be sure. Nintendo and Capcom haven’t always had great relations over the course of their long history; however, with Monster Hunter being a huge success on the WiiU and 3DS, as well as Megaman appearing in Smash Brothers, it seems the two companies are on good terms right now. What’s more, Nintendo has expressed interest in acquisitions lately in the wake of frustrating losses. Provided Nintendo still has some Wii money left in the bank, this could be a huge game changer for them going forward. Much like with Sony, however, it would be risky, since other than Monster Hunter, Capcom doesn’t have much in development for Nintendo right now.
And then of course, there could be many other companies that could see investing in Capcom as a way to jump into the video game business. We’ll have to see how this plays out…