What If Disney Bought Capcom?
Just last week, Capcom shareholders decided not to renew their takeover defense plan, leaving the company (potentially) open to the possibility of another party buying up all of their shares and obtaining a controlling stake in the storied publisher. Since that announcement was made, there’s been tons of speculation as to why Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo should make a play for the company. On paper, all three console makers would have plenty to gain from a buyout. However, all three would potentially be leaving money on the table if they purchased Capcom for exclusivity on their respective platforms.
Before we dig any further, keep in mind that this is a hypothetical scenario and Capcom hasn’t officially said or remotely implied that a “for sale” sign is going up anytime soon. It was an idea to explore, since the other predictions I’ve read or heard didn’t make much sense to me. With that out of the way, let’s move on.
So who should make a play for the house that Mega Man built? Disney.
No, seriously. If there’s one constant that remains across all forms of entertainment media, it’s that the power of your intellectual property will make or break you. No company knows this better than Disney.
Disney is the kind of company that other companies, even video game companies like Ubisoft for instance, aspire to be. They’ve mastered the art of creating, hyping, selling and (arguably) most important: merchandising. Their purchase of Marvel and involvement with the various IPs obtained from that purchase (see: every movie release since) proves that Disney is aware that these IPs are near and dear to the hearts of many fans. And while at the end of the day (just like any company) they’re about making a buck, for the most part it seems that they respect the IPs just enough to ensure that they deliver a worthy product.
When you look at the diversity that comes with Disney you know that it doesn’t end with films, TV shows and t-shirts. There’s always a chance that the newest addition/extension to their beloved theme parks could be an area devoted to whatever their latest, hottest IP is.
Like Marvel, Capcom, with its rich history, has plenty of characters and IPs that many gamers (and even non-gamers) have grown up with. Characters like Mega Man, Ryu and Chris Redfield will go down in gaming history for what each (in their respective games) contributed to the medium. A handful of Capcom characters even made cameo appearances in Disney’s video game inspired animated film Wreck It Ralph. Coincidentally, the two companies have worked on video games together for over 25 years.
Can you imagine the possibilities of a Disney-owned Capcom? Just think about the idea of visiting Walt Disney World to check out their brand new “Video Game themed” park or area. You can also imagine that a company like Disney can take the “family friendly” look of characters like Mega Man and completely hit it out of the park with games, animated films and the list goes on.
One might be concerned with how Disney would handle an IP such as Resident Evil but honestly, after watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters (which had more shootouts than the original Matrix film), I think the company knows how to properly cater to an adult audience and stay true to the source material. At the same time, I don’t expect Disney to start selling Bucky’s machine gun from the movie at their retail stores anytime soon either. So there’s a delicate balance there and Disney is aware of it as they become masters of walking the “PG-13” line with their other properties.
And just like their current Star Wars video game licensing agreement with Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive would likely farm out the various Capcom properties to outside developers who can deliver a more focused and polished product. Utilizing Capcom’s established IPs and characters, similar to what Nintendo does with its memorable franchises, Disney can essentially fill the empty space found in in their video game line-up that isn’t occupied by their family friendly Disney Infinity property. By creating games that way, Disney Interactive can avoid taking huge financial losses like the ones they took from 2008 – 2012 ($200 million per year) when they were developing games internally.
But again, making video games isn’t the main reason why Disney’s purchase of Capcom should be made. It should be made because buying Capcom grants Disney an important piece of gaming history. In the process they would add another worthy addition to their arsenal of our childhood nostalgia… as their hands continue to dig deeper in all of our pockets.
Featured Image Credit: artistabe.deviantart.com
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