One month ago tomorrow, Nintendo announced Fortnite would be coming to the Switchconsole, which essentially means that Epic Games’ smash hit now supports cross-play between Xbox One, PC, Mac and Mobile – everyone except PlayStation. Sony’s defense of their widely-panned decision to "go it alone" has been lambasted by the gaming community – and backlash has only grown in size and scale since the announcement was made.
It got me thinking about strategic alliances, and wondering how or why Sony thinks this is a good idea. Have they not read the memo that Fortnite:BR generated more revenue in a single month than any game of its kind primarily because kids like playing the game with each other? And do they not realize the force behind its success is Gen Z – a cohort of 61mm strong who are heavily influenced by social media they themselves often control?
Wikipedia defines strategic alliance as "an agreement between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon objectives needed while remaining independent organizations." They can be horizontal or vertical, meaning some of the best partnerships are between those who appear to be competitors (like Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo). Here are some examples of corporate symbiosis I came up with:
· Walmart and FedEx
· ApplePay and MasterCard
· Barnes & Noble and Starbucks
· Hermes and Apple
· Spotify and Uber
· Ford and Eddie Bauer
I posit that Amazon’s unrelenting focus on innovation will force a new era of strategic partnership – in fact, they will be increasingly necessary to stay relevant and stave off disruption. That’s not to say they always work out or aren’t without hazard – think Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler -- but with technology advances pushing the pace of change to be even faster, building everything from scratch or filling the niche of every market becomes impossible. One of the more powerful examples of strategic relationships are when the big banks came together to form Zelle: within just one year its volume rivaled Venmo. [Next they should partner to tackle financial acumen/health, a pressing global problem.]
In May, after lots of begging by our gaggle of boys, we caved for the Playstation 4 Prowith VR bundle -- all in it was an almost $800 purchase (and we bought during Sony’sannual sale!). After 24 hours they were bored and back to the Xbox. In hindsight, a second (or third) Xbox would have been a better investment at our house. Curious to see if Sonywakes up to the fact that real money is in play here (pun intended) -- Newzoo reported that 2.2 billion gamers across the globe generated $108.9 billion in game revenues in 2017. Just as Harry Reese determined peanut butter and chocolate were a match made in food heaven way back in 1928, Nintendo has already figured out that drafting off the next Fortnite'ssuccess makes sense too: this week they said it will help any publisher who wants to make cross-play happen.