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Xbox is very unlikely to be able to buy big Japanese studios, claims analyst

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

On several previous occasions, Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer has expressed a desire to purchase an Asian game developer, “in particular a Japanese studio”.

“In some ways, Microsoft taking over a big Japanese publisher would be bigger news” than its plan to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, according to Dr. Serkan Toto, CEO of Tokyo-based game industry consultancy Kantan Games.

While it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, Nathan Brown’s Hit Points newsletter notes that Microsoft’s chances of acquiring the likes of Sega, Square Enix or Capcom were likely slim for several reasons, mostly cultural.

Japanese companies are traditionally highly resistant to being acquired from overseas, with many insulated from takeover attempts by a Japanese system called ‘Keiretsu’.

Keirestu sees a business group formed by member companies from different industries, so that they can essentially look out for each other because they own small portions of the shares in each other’s businesses.

Toto said any attempt at a hostile takeover “would be a suicide mission” because “everybody would leave instantly”, adding: “I would bet my house this will not happen, ever.”

And he highlighted cultural and language barriers, plus “the diversified business portfolio of key players”, such as Konami’s gym business and Sega’s resorts, as further barriers to entry for Microsoft.

“Nothing can be ruled out in this day and age,” said Toto. “But in some ways, Microsoft taking over a big Japanese publisher would be bigger news than the Activision deal. So far no foreign game company has been able to acquire a Japanese studio — and I can guarantee you there have been attempts, from both western and Asian players.”

Japan’s game developers have consolidated in the past, but as many modern publishers show – including Koei Tecmo, Bandai Namco, Sega Sammy and Square Enix – this has been virtually entirely kept to domestic companies.

As noted by Hit Points’ Nathan Brown, Japan was ranked last in the 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for the amount of foreign direct investment in 196 countries around the world.

Thus, if Japan’s game industry is to consolidate, it will likely be to PlayStation’s benefit, according to Dr. Toto.

Sony of course has the home-field advantage, and some of the challenges that would come up for Microsoft would not apply to Sony,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be one of the publicly traded powerhouses, but I believe Sony is at least considering making a move in Japan soon.”
 

ParaSeoul

Member
Sony's Playstation division is just as western. So I dont see much advantage to Playstation. Sony Japan could buy a company but they are not Playstation. Sony is weird.
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
Sony's Playstation division is just as western. So I dont see much advantage to Playstation. Sony Japan could buy a company but they are not Playstation. Sony is weird.

They have Aniplex, but in any case it could be argued that one of the reasons why Sony has been downsizing their Japanese gaming workforce is to lay the bed for a big Japanese acquisition. Either way it's looking unlikely unless they feel the need to do it, and ATM it seems like they would rather keep those exclusive deals going.

FF7 Remake is forever console exclusive, and their deal for FF16, FF14, and probably the next Street Fighter... yeah, it looks like they will keep growing their western arm instead.
 
Sony's Playstation division is just as western. So I dont see much advantage to Playstation. Sony Japan could buy a company but they are not Playstation. Sony is weird.
Saying PlayStation is just as Western as Xbox is...a choice lol. The console is still built in Japan and it's pretty much a Japanese product.

PlayStation is still a Sony subsidiary. They wouldn't have problems acquiring a publisher there and their relationship with most publishers in Japan is much closer: Capcom, Square Enix, even Sega (Yakuza, Persona, etc).

Xbox could buy studios in Japan...but a huge publisher? I can't imagine the Japanese government being okay with it specifically if it's a publicly traded company...but who knows. These last 2 years have been too unpredictable to say for sure.
 
Saying PlayStation is just as Western as Xbox is...a choice lol. The console is still built in Japan and it's pretty much a Japanese product.

PlayStation is still a Sony subsidiary. They wouldn't have problems acquiring a publisher there and their relationship with most publishers in Japan is much closer: Capcom, Square Enix, even Sega (Yakuza, Persona, etc).

Xbox could buy studios in Japan...but a huge publisher? I can't imagine the Japanese government being okay with it specifically if it's a publicly traded company...but who knows. These last 2 years have been too unpredictable to say for sure.
You know they are not actually made in Japan, right? They are pretty far removed from Japan at this point. They don't even prioritize Japan for selling their consoles/.
 
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Sony’s parent company is still Japanese, but PlayStation is very much an American company now….so no, Sony doesn’t have the advantage either
 
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You know they are not actually made in Japan, right? They are pretty far removed from Japan at this point. They don't even prioritize Japan for selling their consoles/.
Dude...literally the first look we ever got at PS5 was done by Sony's Yasuhiro Ootori from Japan:


If this video screams "america" to you, i have nothing else to say.
Not saying everything was done in japan. I mean Cerny alone is the big brain behind the console as far as i know...but clearly he wasn't alone.

Saying Xbox and PlayStation are equally american is just not true.

And also...not saying Sony is prioritizing Japan for hardware because it isn't but...considering they expect to sell only 2M consoles this trimester WW, the fact Japan alone gets around 20000 consoles per week (around 80k per month) then it means in the end it gets almost a quarter of all units Sony is expecting to sell WW (around 240k). Hardly a forgotten country wouldn't you say?
 
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boomcrab

Member
Wouldnt it be great if sony just said fuck it and went ALL IN with acquiring Japanese devs. It wont happen but I do want more japanese commitment from them. I can see them buying fromsoft after elden ring, kind of like how they bought housemarque after returnal. Just a feeling though, fromsoft would go a long way.
Also, buy capcom and save megaman.
 

cHaOs667

Member
Honestly don't care for Japanese publishers. Capcoms best days are long behind them imo and I never liked anything from SE. Sega is the only one and thats just off nostalgia alone.
And to be fair, the current most important part of SEGA is the publishing of western titles...

I know that I will upset some people, but the Japanese gaming industry is, in my Mind, just a glimpse of what it was in the 90s. Don't get me wrong, but if you are not into JRPGs and Pokémon, there is pretty little to offer (except for FromSoftware's Dark Souls like games).

Maybe the strong indie scene is to blame a bit as I source my unique gaming experiences mainly from them and not, like in the 90s, from Japanese games.
 

Lone Wolf

Member
Dude...literally the first look we ever got at PS5 was done by Sony's Yasuhiro Ootori from Japan:


If this video screams "america" to you, i have nothing else to say.
Not saying everything was done in japan. I mean Cerny alone is the big brain behind the console as far as i know...but clearly he wasn't alone.

Saying Xbox and PlayStation are equally american is just not true.

And also...not saying Sony is prioritizing Japan for hardware because it isn't but...considering they expect to sell only 2M consoles this trimester WW, the fact Japan alone gets around 20000 consoles per week (around 80k per month) then it means in the end it gets almost a quarter of all units Sony is expecting to sell WW (around 240k). Hardly a forgotten country wouldn't you say?
So did Mark Cerny, an American, design the PS5 or not?
 
This article won't age well :messenger_tears_of_joy:
Lol you know now this is going to happen when it does it’s just going to be seppeku time for most of these people that spout this non sense. Article reads like a fanboy wrote it. In no world can’t Microsoft not buy what they want if they go and offer capcom 15 billion they’re taking it they’re evaluated at 4.9 billion. I just don’t think Microsoft wants a Japanese publisher because of all the other things like club houses and casino some of those come with. That’s more the hold up then this nonsensical narrative.
 

Spacefish

Member
Sony behaves as if its embarrassed by Japanese games, If I was a dev in that country I'd rather be bought by Microsoft. Better yet remain independent and escape the revolving door western CEO's who only care about failing up and cashing out. Phil spencer seems alright but he's not going to stick around forever, there's 50 don mattrick's itching to fuck everything up as soon as he retires.
 

Concern

Member
And to be fair, the current most important part of SEGA is the publishing of western titles...

I know that I will upset some people, but the Japanese gaming industry is, in my Mind, just a glimpse of what it was in the 90s. Don't get me wrong, but if you are not into JRPGs and Pokémon, there is pretty little to offer (except for FromSoftware's Dark Souls like games).

Maybe the strong indie scene is to blame a bit as I source my unique gaming experiences mainly from them and not, like in the 90s, from Japanese games.

Pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I've lost interest in Japanese games and never liked jrpgs.

I was really big on capcom during the Ps2 days with games like Onimusha, devil may cry, etc
 

ZywyPL

Banned
Don't see a point, their consoles don't sell that much in Japan to be worth such effort to cater the Japanese audience, whereas the western audience, well, mostly prefers wester games, especially online ones.

Hence why I also don't think Sony should care about buying Japane devs/publishers either, especially Sony really, because they can make 10, 15, 20M selling SP games on their own. I know there's A LOT of history and legacy when it comes Playstation and Japanese IPs, like MGS, FF, RE to name a few, but I don't think they're as essential for the brand as they used to anymore.
 
Lol you know now this is going to happen when it does it’s just going to be seppeku time for most of these people that spout this non sense. Article reads like a fanboy wrote it. In no world can’t Microsoft not buy what they want if they go and offer capcom 15 billion they’re taking it they’re evaluated at 4.9 billion. I just don’t think Microsoft wants a Japanese publisher because of all the other things like club houses and casino some of those come with. That’s more the hold up then this nonsensical narrative.
Funnily enough Capcom does not have all those club houses and other stuff as far as I recall.
 

Kilau

Member
Which is why I don’t see Sony buying any of them either. PlayStation already gets most of the games produced by Japanese companies so if MS can’t buy them why throw away money.

Nintendo has stated they aren’t interested in acquiring anyone.

Things could change if MS secures a significant number of exclusivity deals.
 
After 15 years of the same 5 IPs over and over again I’ll say
FINALLY!

The long years of dry are over! It rains and the desert is blooming again!

Joking!
But really now did the diehard Xbox fans hold their loyalty for so long?
Because the OG Xbox was awesome and so was the Xbox 360, just because they had one bad generation doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. The 360 era was kind of like the PS4 era where Xbox had most of the exclusive 3rd party deals and so on.

I’d argue the Xbox One wasn’t even all that bad, it was just the initial launch and year 1-2 in the aftermath of said launch that was bad, once Phil took over it started picking up again almost instantly. Other people here will have their opinions but this is mine as an Xbox player since the OG.

That said though, I’m an Online Multiplayer guy personally and Xbox has always been the home of online multiplayer games. People can mock Xbox for its lack of single player story games but I say the same for PlayStation’s lack of MP games in the first party department, 3rd party and the likes of CoD have heavily carried that burden for them for a long time.
 

JLB

Member
Dude...literally the first look we ever got at PS5 was done by Sony's Yasuhiro Ootori from Japan:


If this video screams "america" to you, i have nothing else to say.
Not saying everything was done in japan. I mean Cerny alone is the big brain behind the console as far as i know...but clearly he wasn't alone.

Saying Xbox and PlayStation are equally american is just not true.

And also...not saying Sony is prioritizing Japan for hardware because it isn't but...considering they expect to sell only 2M consoles this trimester WW, the fact Japan alone gets around 20000 consoles per week (around 80k per month) then it means in the end it gets almost a quarter of all units Sony is expecting to sell WW (around 240k). Hardly a forgotten country wouldn't you say?

A video of a japanese showing a playstation is the fundamental proof of Playstations´s being fundamentally japanese. Lol.
Xbox and Playstation are western products directed to western audiences. The rest is a fairy tale.
 
Which is why I don’t see Sony buying any of them either. PlayStation already gets most of the games produced by Japanese companies so if MS can’t buy them why throw away money.

Nintendo has stated they aren’t interested in acquiring anyone.

Things could change if MS secures a significant number of exclusivity deals.
True...and if you think about it, no one would make much money in acquiring say, Square-Enix. FFVIIR games have some sort of exclusivity with Sony and we only got the first entry. FFXIV is only on PS4 and PS5 in terms of consoles for now and i'm sure a lot of the money it does is on Sony platforms. FXVI is going to be console exclusive to Sony even if timed. Same for Forpoken. There's the Spider-Man deal for The Avengers. Sony also has marketing deals for almost everything SE related. (like Guardians of the Galaxy). If a company that's not Sony would acquire SE right now, i can't think of a good business decision for that. It would take years for the deal to actually pay off.

I feel like Japan publishers at least (not studios) are safe for now.
 
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