Yesterday in a press release, Capcom announced that after a vote of shareholders, the renewal of their takeover defense plan was not approved. This essentially means that the company could now be taken over if someone acquires enough shares of their stock. The takeover defense plan, a buyout countermeasure instituted at Capcom in 2008 is something a lot of companies typically enact to prevent hostile buyouts.
Now, this doesn’t mean that a buyout is necessarily in Capcom’s future, so there’s no reason to worry over Capcom’s impending doom. However, it is fun to speculate, and with this in mind I’ve once again fired up the old Speculatron 9000 to take a look at what companies would benefit most from buying Capcom, and what could be done with their stable of IP under new management. For the purpose of this exercise, we will aim to keep Capcom at home in Japan, so we will only be looking at Japanese publishers. That will exclude the big boys like EA and Activision from this scenario. With that said, let’s take a look at the contenders.
Up first, one of the country’s greatest and longest run gaming companies, founded in 1969, Konami has been around the block since the early days and still comes out strong. Known mostly now for Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear franchise, a merger with Capcom could strengthen their already vast library, adding classics like Mega Man and Bionic Commando to Contra and more. If we were to look at one Capcom IP that Konami would do well to bring back from the dead in the modern era (pun maybe intended), it might be the Resident Evil franchise. If there’s one thing that Konami does right, it’s mind-fuckery through both psychological warfare and bizarre twists and turns in its stories. Adding some psychology to this long-standing series of jump scares could be just what the doctor ordered.
Square Enix has done well re-branding itself in recent years, evolving from the makers of the Final Fantasy and Dragon’s Quest games to a much more well-rounded company. They bought Eidos and resurrected great franchises such as Tomb Raider and Hitman, and they successfully created new IP like Sleeping Dogs. Could they benefit from taking Capcom over and adding a storied fighting game like Street Fighter to their library? Most definitely, a fighting game would help round out Squeenix’s ever-increasing library of great titles, and that franchise just flat-out prints money. Among all the companies we will look at today, Square Enix may also be the one in the best financial shape to make the move.
Up next, let’s take a look at Sega. We know their story, they’ve been out of the hardware market for a long time now, sticking primarily to software, and pushing another iconic blue mascot who’s bombed a lot in recent years (c’mon Sega, give us a Sonic game we can get behind!). However, Sega recently bought Atlus from Index Co., and perhaps they could be looking to strengthen themselves further with Capcom. Both companies have not had the greatest luck with releases of late, and both companies seem to be absolutely obsessed with Metacritic ratings and unrealistic sales projections. Perhaps this is the perfect fit for Capcom after all. One worrisome trend, however, is that when a Sega IP fails to meet sales expectations or does not earn very high Metacritic ratings, we never see that franchise again (Alpha Protocol, Binary Domain). Worse (for us) it could be taken away from the North American market entirely (Yakuza 5). We’re all praying Sega won’t do this with Atlus’ Persona franchise. As for one IP that Sega could do well with, maybe it’s Viewtiful Joe. The cult hit platformer could potentially see a new level of success teaming up with a certain hedgehog, and that honestly wouldn’t be the weirdest thing we’ve seen Joe do.
Finally, the Speculatron 9000 would be remiss if it did not at least take a gander over at Nintendo. Nintendo possibly has the most to gain from a buyout of Capcom. Not only would they get Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and a slew of IP to boost WiiU sales, they would also be able to bring a classic franchise back to its rightful home, on a Nintendo console (or handheld). You had to have seen this coming from the beginning of the article: the blue bomber himself, Mega Man. Can you imagine an HD Mega Man game? I’m not talking about some kind of a bastardized 3D WTF is this Mega Man game like they’ve done with the Metroid series, but an honest to goodness 8-Bit turned million-bit Mega Man vs 8 Robot Masters and Dr. Wily game? Sure, we have Comcept’s Mighty No. 9 coming up next year, but can you ever really replace Mega Man? I know Keiji Inafune is going to give it his all, but honestly, I think it’s safe to say that a buyout of Capcom would be a win-win for Nintendo. This is their chance to get back in the game and make more games that people want to play and make them exclusive to Nintendo consoles and handhelds. Innovate the Resident Evil franchise, add Street Fighter characters to Smash Bros., take the entire Capcom back library and put it on the Nintendo store, and just wait for the sweet, sweet money to roll in. KA-CHING!
Of course, that’s all just speculation.