In brief: Another day, another video game studio buyout. Nintendo made its second acquisition in as many years. The studio, SRD, has had a partnership exclusively with Nintendo for almost 40 years. Its offices are even housed in the Nintendo Development Center in Kyoto, Japan. After all this time, it's about time Nintendo made it a subsidiary.
It seems that we are in a time where the three big home-gaming manufacturers are in a contest to see who can buy up more third-party studios. This time it is Nintendo's turn as it is buying long-time development partner Systems Research & Development, better known as SRD (also referred to as Nintendo R&D4), for an undisclosed amount.
The studio is responsible for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, two of the Nintendo Switch's greatest hits. However, SRD has a nearly 40-year history of developing Nintendo games, going all the way back to the NES. Some of its older work includes the Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr series, Super Mario Bros franchise, most of the Legend of Zelda games, Star Fox 64, and many more.
"Completion of the Acquisition (exclusive of treasury stock) will serve to strengthen the management base of SRD and secure the availability of software development resources for Nintendo, in addition to facilitating an anticipated improvement in software development efficiency," explains the acquisition notice.
In this instance, Nintendo is not trying to keep up with Microsoft and Sony, which are seemingly locked in an acquisition war with purchases of big names like Zenimax, Bungie, and Activision. Nintendo's market is currently unthreatened since Sony gave up on handheld machines like the PSP and Vita.
The Switch is doing fine, and the company is just looking to ensure SRD is under its umbrella and has the funds to continue producing quality titles. It's somewhat surprising that Nintendo didn't merge them into the fold sooner, considering their long history.
The acquisition is Nintendo's second in the last two years. Last year, it purchased Next Level Games---the maker of Luigi's Mansion 3 for the Switch, and several other games on various platforms, including the Gamecube, Wii, and 3DS.