If Microsoft's planned $68 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard has you wondering who's next, and whether the tech giant could scoop up your favourite Japanese publisher at any moment, then we've got good news: it probably, maybe, might not happen.
Video game consultant and writer Nathan Brown has penned a very informative article on the subject of overseas companies acquiring Japanese businesses, with the help of Japanese gaming industry analyst Serkan Toto. The article outlines why a Japanese firm like Sony would be a frontrunner in buying other Japanese companies — and why Microsoft can't simply waltz in and acquire whatever it wants.
We're obviously not going to copy and paste the whole article here, but the gist of it is that Japanese businesses tend to do things differently. Generally speaking, Japanese companies aren't keen on being bought up, with mergers — like Square Enix and Koei Tecmo — being much more common. Additionally, hostile takeovers are pretty much viewed as bad business from top to bottom.
Toto explains: "[Hostile takeovers] are generally considered the antithesis of the Japanese way of doing business, and almost always a very bad idea. A foreign entity taking over a publicly traded studio against its own will would be a suicide mission: everybody would leave instantly. I would bet my house this will not happen, ever." Basically, it would be a big pain in the arse for Microsoft to seal the deal on any Japanese company.
Toto continues: "Sony of course has the home-field advantage, and some of the challenges that would come up for Microsoft would not apply to Sony."
Toto even concludes with — dare we say — a bit of a tease: "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.”
So there you have it; you don't have to lose anymore sleep over nightmares about Big Uncle Phil absorbing your beloved Japanese game devs. Although earlier in the article, Toto does temper things by saying "Nothing can be ruled out in this day and age". Uh oh!
Anyway, interesting stuff. What do you think is next for our industry? Could you see Sony snapping something up in Japan? What's happening with Microsoft? Become an armchair analyst in the comments section below.