One would have to be truly disconnected from reality not to realize that the video game industry is a revenue-generating cash cow. We have come a long way from Atari. Techmo Bowl has been replaced by Madden and PacMan has been supplanted by Grand Theft Auto. The games today are much more real looking and responsive than the games we played back in the 1970s and 1980s. While there has been a constant evolution of titles and game concepts, games like Madden and Grand Theft Auto have stood the test of time and produce millions in revenue every year. The same can be said for the Star Fox franchise. While Star Fox may not be as recognizable as Madden or Call of Duty, it has been a mainstay over the years.
So, how much is the Star Fox Video Game Franchise worth? The manner in which Nintendo reports revenue and costs has made it somewhat difficult to nail down, but there are some interesting estimations based on sales. When Star Fox was released in 1993, it was celebrated for being a pioneer in 3D gaming Since its initial release, Nintendo has launched multiple reboots and variations of the video game — capitalizing on its popularity and technical engagement.
One of the reasons that delivering a precise net worth is challenging is the financial challenges that the franchise has experienced in recent years. The initial strategy of pairing the game with breakthroughs in hardware technology worked great; however, that has not been the case as of late. The title, in all of its variations, has faced some significant financial struggles over the past several years. The last three releases have been the worst selling releases in the history of the franchise. In fact, Star Fox Zero sold less than one million copies.
Nintendo has been focusing on ways to bring the once popular game back into the living rooms and game rooms across the globe. Fortunately, Nintendo has been able to tap into some new help from an old friend. Dylan Cuthbert was one of the original programmers for the original titles for Star Fox, but he left shortly after completing the first two titles to take a spot at Argonaut. He eventually left Argonaut to start his own company in 2001. The great thing is that his company, Q-Games, is walking distance from the Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.
Nintendo and Cuthbert have been working to create a collaboration that will infuse his creativity and the popularity of the game (what’s left of it) to reignite a passion to play the game. What the company has not been able to get a handle on is the fact that the thing that made this franchise standout initially was its three-dimensional prowess, but now the digital and graphics performance of games are light years ahead of where this game started and almost every game offers some sort of three-dimensional experience.
The biggest challenge for Star Fox is that has not translated to the latest hardware technology, the Wii U Gamepad. While other games like Super Mario Maker and Splatoon have soared on the new gaming system, Star Fox Zero underperformed in the most emphatic way. While the launch of this franchise was extraordinary and promised years of massive revenue generation, the last few years have created a situation in which the future of the franchise is fairly bleak. The last time that the franchise was considered financially viable was its release on the Nintendo 64 in 1997. That is quite a long way not to perform. Nintendo has been as ambiguous in the reporting of financials on this particular franchise as legally possible as a publically traded company.
Not even Forbes has anything concrete on the franchise worth. While its sales were impressive in the 1990s, the sales since 1997 have been troubling. Currently, the franchise's net worth would have to be placed well under $500,000. There will be some that believe place the net worth or valuation this low is significantly undervaluing the franchise, but as of now, the franchise has no future revenue generation projections to leverage a higher valuation. The value is based on a capacity to produce in the future and Star Fox simply does not have that type of capacity at this point.
There are still some faithful fans that are pushing for a new release of the title in the coming year, but Nintendo has not indicated how it will proceed over the long-term with this game. If Dylan Cuthbert cannot resurrect the series, it may be time to write it off and move on.
Written by Rick Wallace
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