Few companies in the gaming industry can rival the library of Nintendo. With franchises like Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, Metroid, and Splatoon to its name, Nintendo's offerings have delighted gamers for decades. It's clear, however, that the company is still looking for new ways to establish its characters in the hearts and minds of consumers: most notably through theme parks and film. According to Reuters, American investment firm ValueAct Capital Partners LP certainly thinks that the company will continue its expansion, albeit in a different manner: as a digital media service. ValueAct has invested $1.1 billion in Nintendo, and wants to see the company join the likes of Apple, Netflix and Disney, in that regard. In a letter sent to investors, ValueAct spoke highly about Nintendo's future.
"We believe Nintendo will be one of the largest digital media services in the world, in a category with the likes of Netflix, Disney+, Tencent Interactive Entertainment and Apple Music," ValueAct said in the letter.
Despite ValueAct's large investment in Nintendo, it apparently has not asked for a place on the company's board of directors. Instead, ValueAct has had communications with management from the Japanese company. ValueAct began purchasing stock in April 2019, citing Nintendo's potential as a larger entertainment company. ValueAct's investment represents a 2% stake in Nintendo.
At this time, Nintendo does offer parts of its library in a digital format: Nintendo Switch Online users get access to a small library of games from the NES and SNES era. For now, it seems likely that any sort of digital media expansion would have to continue through Nintendo created hardware, though investors have pressured Nintendo to make some concessions in that regard in the past. Most notably, Nintendo was hesitant to embrace the concept of mobile gaming. The company eventually relented, offering games such as Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes as mobile exclusives.
Unlike competitors such as Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is a video game company, first and foremost. As such, the company is fiercely protective of its franchises. Given the success of Switch, those waiting for Nintendo to offer parts of its library on other platforms will likely have to wait for some time. Still, it's hard not to see the appeal of classic titles like Super Mario Bros. 3 or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past streaming on mobile devices, or offered through apps accessible on a multitude of devices.
Would you like to see Nintendo offer its games in other formats? Do you think Nintendo could be the next big digital media service? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!