You may have heard the news, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, is retiring next year. There’s a rumor going around that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop might be a candidate. What significance does that hold? Well, it’s being mumbled that if Elop were to be the CEO, he would implement a lot of change like pushing for higher sales of Office on numerous platforms rather than use it for Windows PC and tablets. There’s also a rumor that he would consider killing Bing, and selling off the Xbox division, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, appears to agree with this idea since Microsoft has lost nearly $3 billion in the 10 years they’ve been in the console market.
So, if Elop does sell off the Xbox division, who should it be sold to? Sony? Well, I’m not sure they want to pony up the cash since the PlayStation divsion reported billions in losses when their full year ended in March 2012. Also, I’m not sure they have they would gain as much as someone else would from the acquisition.
That leaves one more console maker who could possibly do it, Nintendo. Now, they are very very very unlikely to, but with 3DS sales skyrocketing, and recently reported profits of $71.3 million, they could be a great suitor for the Xbox division. But why should they do it? For five simple reasons dear reader.
5.) A Smash Bros. Cross-Over with Xbox
We’ve seen big names enter the Smash Bros. universe over the years. Characters like Solid Snake, Sonic, and now, Mega Man. With an Xbox purchase by Nintendo though, we’d get those characters but also first-party names like Master Chief and Marcus Pheonix. Hell, even Alan Wake could step in to the action if he can find his way out of the dark.
4.) The Wii U Dilemma
By the time Steve Ballmer actually retires, and is indeed succeeded by Elop, it won’t be long before we can see the Wii U’s second birthday on the horizon. Once the dust has settled, and Elop starts proposing change, Nintendo’s balloons will be deflated and the cake will be rotten. If the Wii U hasn’t taken off by then (I think it will), Nintendo will have a serious problem on their hands.
The 3DS may be printing money, but with the Wii U certainly isn’t with it being a year old and just now approaching four million in sales. Nintendo will have to figure out something quick in order to stay competitive. Purchasing the Xbox division will grant them already developed hardware that will save them billions in research and development and give them a cutting-edge device that will lengthen their lifespan in the console market.
3.) Third-Party Success
It seems to happen every generation. When Nintendo unveils a new console, dozens of third-party devs and publishers pledge their allegiance to the new system. Then, it all goes South. Either the companies disappear, or publicly decry the platform for the whole world to see. We’ve seen things like Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft say, “We need more sold,” before the company will make more exclusives for the platform like Zombie U.
By purchasing the Xbox division, Nintendo will have those big third-party players back in their court. And with the better technology, their multiplatform titles won’t be as dated.
It would also resolve the DLC issue with multiplatform titles. It seems every time a major third-party title hits the Wii U, it’s gimped in some way. Now, I’m not a fan of DLC, but a lot of people are, and taking hold of Xbox would be a surefire solution to this problem (as well solve the issue for limited hard drive storage that plagues such downloads).
2.) A Wii-union with Rare
Rare and Nintendo ruled the industry in the 90s. With titles like Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, and GoldenEye 007, the two created an awesome duo. Unfortunately, that duo came to an end when Microsoft purchased Rare, and a lot of the IPs went to Microsoft. Franchises like Perfect Dark, and Banjo-Kazooie were now on the Xbox team. Once that happened, the magic disappeared at Rare. Whereas with Nintendo, Rare produced classic after classic, but with Microsoft, it’s been a mess as Perfect Dark Zero received divided to decent reviews, and Bajo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was more of a construction game than a platformer. Rare did update Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and has had success with Viva Pinata, but they still aren’t what they used to be.
If Nintendo steps in though, Rare will be theirs again, and we could see a renaissance out of them. Even though Retro has handled the franchise well (and kind of become the new Rare), we could see Rare take the Donkey Kong reigns back (which will also allow Retro to work on something new). We might also have a new Perfect Dark, and the long-awaited HD-update to the real GoldenEye 007 with not only local, but online multiplayer as well.
1.) Nintendo Network becomes Xbox Live
Let’s face it, no matter how much you love Nintendo (I love them too much), their online stinks. Yes, it has grown. They’ve tossed out Friend Codes, and really stepping it up with MiiVerse and distribution of digital content across the Nintendo Network. But it’s still lacking. A lot of game developers don’t even bother with the multiplayer modes for Nintendo platforms, like the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham Origins, because not enough people play. Even Miyamoto said, when talking about Super Mario 3D World‘s lack of online play, “online multiplayer isn’t Nintendo’s focus this time around.” Pikmin 3 also skipped online because of “technical issues.” Even EA has stopped supporting the Wii U for the time being because “it feels like an offline experience right now.”
It seems Nintendo knows the importance of online and connectivity on-the-go with the 3DS as StreetPass has been a huge success and the online community for games like Mario Kart 7 were active. But Nintendo hasn’t been so forward-thinking with their home platforms. With the Xbox though, they’d inherit the most successful console online community in Xbox Live, and have over have 45 million subscribers under their belt. It would turn Nintendo into a powerhouse on all fronts.
Could you imagine Super Smash Bros. over Xbox Live?
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that Nintendo will purchase the Xbox division. Hell, the Xbox brand may not even be sold off, but it would be a truly unique if something like this were to happen. It would be something that we’ve never seen, and would really turn the industry on its head.[From Gamespot][From Neowin][From The Verge][From Geek][From Kotaku][From Kotaku 2]