What If Disney Bought Nintendo?
A couple of months ago, I came across a very interesting article about the two companies that were the biggest influences of my childhood: Disney and Nintendo. The article presented a fascinating hypothetical about what would happen if the mouse owned the plumbers. Disney has been on a buying spree in the last decade, first buying Pixar in 2006, then Marvel in 2009, and most recently, Lucas Arts in 2012. We all know what these three companies have done for Disney regarding movies and theme parks. That’s what I want to focus on.
But first, for context sake, here’s what I can tell you from the business side of this hypothetical: the value of Nintendo has slipped down somewhere in the ballpark of $11 to $22 billion (with a ‘B’) based on the numbers of fiscal 2014. This is, believe it or not, the cheapest Nintendo as a company has been valued at in the last seven years. This is due to the fact, in part, that Nintendo has focussed primarily on games and not nearly as much on consoles, accessories, market research, or outside projects for brand expansion as they had in the past.
Why would Disney value the Nintendo brand so much? It’s not the consoles… it’s the characters! Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, etc. Can you imagine Princess Zelda, Princess Toadstool, Snow White, and Minnie Mouse posing together for pictures in Epcot or sharing a float on Christmas morning on TV? Can you imagine being able to “literally” walk through The Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule? I sure can.
Not to mention the obvious film franchise opportunities. A re-imagined Super Mario Bros. movie franchise in the cinematic style of Pirates of The Caribbean? Yes, please! A Metroid film in the cinematic style of The Avengers? One can only dream…
And for now, that’s all we can do; dream. Although the market for Nintendo is suggesting the odds of this happening are improving, it probably wouldn’t be for at least another ten years. Why so long? A majority of the original Nintendo execs are still in power and are extremely protective of their brand. This is especially so after the abomination Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993 that made Super Mario Bros. co-creator Shigeru Miyamoto vow to never give up rights to his characters ever again.
We’ll all just have to wait and see. And possibly hope.