The wall of silence surrounding Microsoft’s impending buy-out of UK-based Nintendo software partner Rare lost fresh chunks of mortar overnight as Nintendo Japan spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa again spoke out.
Talking to press at Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters, about a possible deal with Microsoft for the Banjo Kazooie creator, Minagawa said, “Rare is one of our subsidiaries, but its contribution to our overall sales is only about 1.5 percent now, and the ratio is declining. We might consider selling Rare stakes if approached by Microsoft or others. But even if we decide to sell the company, it won't cause any changes to our business at all.”
This damning statement comes as quite a shock to us, as it will to you. This is no doubt part of Nintendo’s exit strategy as it seeks closure in what may become a messy divorce.
The figure stated by Minagawa regarding Rare’s input to Nintendo, a mere 1.5% of all sales, will sit well in the subconscious of the assembled press in Seville later this month as a bullish Microsoft unveils its latest gaming acquisition.
In the meantime, a letter has surfaced from Nintendo that finally clarifies the situation. It reads as follows:
Although Nintendo doesn't comment on rumours or speculation by the media, we can tell you that Nintendo has made the decision not to request Rare to make any further exclusive games for the Nintendo GameCube. Although we're proud of our joint efforts with Rare over the years and have enjoyed our relationship with them, in fiscal year 2001, Rare accounted for only 9.5% of total Nintendo software revenue worldwide. In fiscal year 2002, that number declined to 1.5%. Therefore, in evaluating our investments in developers, as well as the financial benefits to Nintendo over the years, we've decided it's in Nintendo's best interests to focus on diversifying our portfolio of developers and projects. Star Fox Adventures, which was jointly developed by Rare and Nintendo, will launch as scheduled on September 23 and will remain exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo's other great franchise characters such as Donkey Kong also will remain exclusive to Nintendo.
We have no additional details to share on this issue at this time.
Nintendo of America Inc
So that’s that. It’s a shame really, but that’s life.
We’ll be at X02 in Seville later this month, armed with Dictaphone, incisive questions and a lack of shame, and we’ll bring you all the news as we get it.