While many were getting ready to pre-order their Xbox Series S/X, they were hit with the news that Microsoft had agreed in principle to buy Bethesda and subsequently all of their companies for $7.5 Billion.
This now means that properties like DOOM, Fallout, Elder Scrolls and even more are now in Microsoft’s hands, and once the deal closes in June 2021, they are free to bring the whole library of games over to Game Pass, alongside sequels and remakes of these franchises, and many more.
But as this puts Microsoft in more favour with its base of more first-party content guaranteed, it also raises questions to what Sony are planning, alongside other third-party companies that have gone under the radar in recent years. One especially being SEGA.
Could the company who created properties such as Sonic, NIGHTS, Jet Set Radio and many more, be next for a purchase? Let’s find out.
Collect Fifty Rings to Buy
SEGA were a powerhouse in the nineties, bringing out consoles such as the Master System, Mega Drive, all the way up to the Dreamcast, alongside many peripherals with these consoles along the journey.
But since their change to third-party services, they survived their console failures and to this day are bringing out fantastic franchises, and even licensing others to newer developers, such as DotEmu with Streets of Rage 4.
But we seem to be heading towards a T-junction in this next-gen console motorway. Exclusives are a big reason of why someone would move from one console to another, while another reason is a past nostalgic love for a franchise, whether if that’s Halo for Xbox, or even Spider-Man for PlayStation.
To have Sonic be an exclusive title for Microsoft or even Sony, is a tantalising thought. It could bring a strange end to the console war of the nineties; then one of the challengers of those times being bought by the latest contender, and being brought back to only compete on one system again.
Mix in an announcement with Sonic Adventure 3, Virtua Fighter 7 and OutRun 2 Remastered all exclusive to Microsoft, it could tempt even more to Xbox and Games Pass as a whole.
The Time is Now
Some are pondering whether KONAMI or even Capcom could be bought by Microsoft or Sony to bolster their exclusive titles, but I think that SEGA is the one to keep an eye on.
They were a big partner to Microsoft back in 2002 with the launch of the original Xbox; Jet Set Radio Future, Crazy Taxi 3, Shenmue II in some regions landed on the console, and its a partnership that will no doubt be remembered by many who work at both companies.
There is plenty of opportunity here. SEGA are a company who just want to make games, and also remind people of what made their franchises so great in the nineties. With Microsoft or even Sony at the helm, it could bring about some resurgence in long-dormant IP, such as Golden Axe, Shinobi, Burning Rangers and lots more.
With Sony, it’s more difficult to judge; they are a company who expand their partnerships with third-party companies, and its rare of them to buy one. But to have a company like SEGA could really give them a corner to shout loudly from.
We are at a place where any third-party could be bought by Sony or Microsoft; Bethesda have shown that precedent now. But Sonic and many other franchises have a special place in many people’s hearts, with nostalgia and long-lasting memories that have defined their careers.
Yet, the question isn’t just about ‘having’ the franchises, the most important aspect will be in how Microsoft or Sony will treat them in the coming years, and give them the time and space they deserve to come out with games that rival their previous entries from the Mega Drive and Dreamcast days.
It’s all up in the air for now, but we could be seeing past franchises being bought by the hands that feeds them, and it’s an exciting prospect. It just depends on how these loved franchises will be cared for if it does indeed come to pass.