What If Nintendo Was A Third Party Publisher?
Mario on PlayStation Vita. Pokemon for iPad. Billions in the bank.
Sega's decision to become a third party publisher in 2001 sent shockwaves through a gaming community used to seeing the company compete with the likes of Sony and Nintendo.
The announcement, while surprising, made a lot of sense. Sega needed to right the corporate ship, and ditching console development costs while spreading its franchises to multiple platforms was a smart business decision. Had it not left the hardware business, Sega may have ceased to exist.
Nintendo, by contrast, is nowhere near extinction. In fact, the big N has dominated this generation of systems with Wii and DS, and has a shot to continue its reign with Wii U and 3DS, respectively.
That said, Mario and Co. would achieve world domination if it took Sega's route, easily becoming the largest and most successful third party publisher in the history of video games. OK, perhaps a close second to Activision Blizzard, providing Call of Duty and World of Warcraft remain lucrative.
With this in mind, Nintendo has the world's biggest and most coveted franchises. Just think about how much money Mario and Pokemon are worth. Now imagine new Mario and Pokemon games appearing on consoles and handheld devices, including iPhone and iPad.
Speaking of the App Store, Nintendo would easily rule the platform. Just a handful of $0.99 Apps could remove Angry Birds from its perch, largely because the Nintendo brand is so respected worldwide. To that end, WarioWare on iPad could be incredible. Super Mario 64 on the iPhone? Nintendo could easily port the game to Apple's device.
There's also a matter of exclusives. Microsoft spent fifty million for two Grand Theft Auto IV episodes without walking away with partial ownership of the GTA franchise. What would it take to make the next Zelda a temporary Xbox, PlayStation 3 or even PlayStation Vita exclusive?
Now before you send emails calling for the men in white coats to drag us to padded cells, keep in mind that we don't expect this to happen any time soon, if at all. Nintendo is not only immensely successful, but also (at this point) too proud to put its beloved Mario on a competitor's console.
Then again, we thought the same way about Sega and Sonic the Hedgehog during the late 90s.