Is Nintendo The Disney Of The Game Industry?

I’ve once again seen this comparison resurface recently. It seems that from time to time, Nintendo gets compared to the all-powerful monopoly company known as Disney. But why? It could be the case that peoples’ thoughts are that they relate both companies to their childhood. After all, tons of people can make the claim that they grew up playing Nintendo games and watching Disney films. There are iconic figures from each company that have been rooted into so many of us since we were children, such as Mickey Mouse and Mario. Both companies have intended to be children and family friendly, both have existed in their own industries longer than rival companies, and both have a set following of diehard fans with rock solid expectations. Unfortunately though, that isn’t where the comparison stops.

Recently, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was announced to be released on the Nintendo Switch later this year… for the full price of $60. Considering that this is a game that originally came out in 2011 on the Wii, selling the same game on the Switch for full price made a lot of fans pissed, and rightfully so. While it does cost money to port a game (involving work on controls and graphics), it’s ridiculous that Nintendo is selling the game for that much, simply because it knows it can get away with it—not that this is surprising to see from any company in a capitalist society. If they can profit off nostalgia (or, well, anything), then they’re going to do it. But this move had people, once again, drawing much more negative comparisons between Nintendo and Disney. Selling old media at full price and locking games in a vault to create artificial scarcity for the purpose of keeping prices high are methods frequently practiced by Nintendo that mirror the sketchy and morally reprehensible business practices performed by Disney.

But is this really enough to call Nintendo “The Disney of the game industry?” While Nintendo has annoying methods like the ones listed above, it seems that it has yet to try to buy out the entire game industry. Disney, on the other hand, appears to want to get its hands on every corner of the entertainment industry it can touch, considering it owns ABC, ESPN, Touchstone Pictures, Lucasfilm, A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, Pixar, Hollywood Records, Vice Media, and Core Publishing. While Nintendo still has PlayStation, Xbox, and more as rival companies, Disney stomped that out real quick by buying out Pixar. It has demonstrated that it’s not about to work with anyone—it’ll just own them instead.

If you think about this, Disney is dominating not just the TV and movie markets, but also parks and resorts, games, retail, publishing, and more. Considering that the company is on the fast track to owning the entire entertainment industry across the entire world, I’d say Nintendo has a long way to go before it’s deserving of the title “the Disney of the game industry.”

It’s true that Nintendo is exhibiting some shady behavior. I’m not about to condone its methods for making extra profit, but let’s not forget that almost every company functioning under capitalism uses the same or similar methods. Furthermore, Nintendo has not been showing signs of trying to monopolize the game industry in the way that Disney has become the king of monopoly when it comes to the entertainment industry.

…And honestly, if you’re still stewing about Skyward Sword costing $60, you know there’s always the option to just not buy it.

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Stephanie is an Editor at TheGamer, solidly aligned chaotic neutral. Though her favorite game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, she vows to do everything in her power to one day see a Legend of Dragoon remake. Absolutely nothing can top her immense love for The Lord of the Rings.

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