David Gibson, the chief investment adviser at Astris Advisory Japan, has written an interesting piece in The Nikkei stating that he believes Nintendo should purchase the online game platform Roblox for $8 billion. Mr. Gibson believes that the future of gaming is building online communities and cultivating them as games as a service. He says that while Nintendo does well with its individual game titles, the company often swiftly moves on from a project to the next instead of watching them grow and foster.
“Having experimented before with user-driven content with Super Mario Maker 1+2, Nintendo should be able to see the benefit of this genre. Unfortunately, the company is still structured around making and selling $60 games, and then moving on to the next one. What consumers really want today are games as a service, an ongoing experience that can be shared within a community. Animal Crossing, with its seasonal updates, is a step in that direction but nowhere near its potential.
A platform for developers and users to build games, Roblox is Super Mario Maker on steroids. Just like Minecraft and Super Mario Maker, creativity has driven its massive audience, the key difference being that Super Mario Maker has 5.5 million fans and Roblox has 150 million. By joining forces, Nintendo and Roblox would create the next generation of fans of Nintendo intellectual property that the company doesn’t have today, all in a controlled family-friendly environment.
By investing in Roblox, Nintendo could invest and promote its intellectual property within the new platform. Imagine how communities of Nintendo users would love being able to build their own Super Nintendo World theme parks? Just being able to play in an online theme park would be fun, given that the first one opens in the spring of 2021 and others remain uncertain. Animal Crossing worlds could be created and shared into an even bigger community and experience.
Kids today are more online than ever, and there are only so many large scale creative businesses out there like Roblox and Minecraft. Epic-Fortnite have already had Tencent-Sony clamoring to work with the platform. It’s only a matter of time before Roblox is next.”David Gibson, The Nikkei