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Will Nintendo Ever Buy Rare Back?

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Rare was a well known video game company in the 90s and is most well known for Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES as well as the Banjoe-Kazooie game series. Nintendo actually never owned Rare entirely but they did own 49% of the company before selling it to Microsoft in 2002 which gave Microsoft full control of the console. 

Nintendo is unlikely to ever buy Rare back because in 2002 they had the opportunity to buy Rare but declined because they didn’t see a good future for the company. Whether that will change in the future and Nintendo will buy Rare or buy some of the assets of Rare (such as the games) is anyone’s guess. 

Ultimately the decision to not buy Rare was a controversial one and in many people’s opinion a foolish one by Nintendo. Afterall, Nintendo could have added the classic Banjoe-Kazooie and Conker to their already large line of classic characters. They could have also released a collection of classic Rare games similar to what Microsoft did except for with all the Nintendo properties as well! 

To many people this seems like a huge blunder on Nintendo’s part!

Before we dive deeper into this discussion it is important that we go over what exactly Rare is and how they fit into the video gaming world.

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What is Rare?

Rare limited is a British video game developer as well as a studio. This company is also known as Rareware. This platform is a famous studio and the headquarters are based in Twycross, Leicestershire.

 If we talk about the achievements of this gaming platform, then it has developed many successful games and people enjoying playing them all. Many of its most popular games were released in the 90s but it also has some more recent successes in the Bajoe-Kazooie series as well as with Conker. 

The parent of this gaming platform is now the Xbox Game Studio since Microsoft bought all of Rare in 2002. Many people feel that Microsoft only bought Rare just because the gaming platform has some talented developers but it also allowed them to keep companies like Nintendo from making its most popular series exclusive to a specific platform. 

What is Nintendo?

Nintendo is one of the most famous and renowned video game companies in the entire world. This gaming company is very famous and the headquarters of this gaming company are in America, Europe, and Japan. The company in America is known as Nintendo of America and the company in Europe is known as Nintendo of Europe. The headquarters of Nintendo in America is based in Redmond, Washington. The headquarters of Nintendo in Europe is based in Frankfurt, Germany. 

This world’s largest video gaming company is known for creating some of the best video games in the world. The company is always seeming to reach new heights daily as many video game players are highly impressed with the continued advancements that Nintendo makes over and over again!

Will Nintendo ever buy Rare back?

In recent years it has been a pretty popular discussion among video game enthusiasts about whether Nintendo would buy Rare back or not. Nintendo has not made any announcements or indications that they would like to buy Rare but they would likely keep it pretty hush hush even if they were intending to buy it back. 

Nintendo has built its company around the release of consoles and only letting their games be played on those consoles to keep demand high. Since you can only play Mario, Super Smash Bros. Zelda, etc. on Nintendo then the people who love those games have to keep buying the newest Nintendo console. 

If Nintendo did buy Rare it would likely be a play to do the same thing with Rare’s popular video game characters to make them exclusive on Nintendo’s platform. To be honest without this exclusivity Nintendo would likely have been pushed out of the console business by Microsoft and Sony a long time ago!

However since Rare is now entirely owned by Microsoft it is unlikely that they would part with Rare or the best Rare characters for anything less than an astronomical price. Since the sale would also help Microsoft’s competitor (Nintendo) then it is even less likely that this sale will ever happen. 

I wouldn’t say that it will NEVER happen as anything is possible but it certainly doesn’t seem likely in my opinion. 

Features of Rare 

Rare limited is a video game industry that was founded in 1985. Rare has produced quite a few good games over the years and is certainly remembered by people who were playing games in the 90s when Rare was at its peak. 

Here are a few of the features of Rare:

  • During the early years of this platform, it was not well  known at all but now it is quite renowned and famous just because of some of the famous games that it had a part in. Games such as Wizards and Warriors, Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country, Banjoe-Kazooie, etc. all helped Rare become a household name.
  • Rare was quite an important second-party developer for the Japanese gaming company Nintendo. Rare limited assisted it a lot especially in the 90s with Rare having a part in many popular Nintendo games.
  • Rare’s most recent video game release was the Sea of Thieves in 2018 (as of this writing). This online game had over 10 million people play it at one time or another and was quite a successful project.
  • One of the best features of Rare limited is that it is developing games for Microsoft’s video game consoles. Microsoft is a popular platform with which many people all over the world have played on at one time or another.
  • About 90 million copies of the games created by Rare limited had been sold prior to 2002 when they were sold by Nintendo.

Why would Nintendo buy Rare back?

As mentioned earlier Nintendo is basically the nostalgia machine from the 90s as many gamers of today grew up playing a Nintendo and love all of the game series that Nintendo has released over the years. Since Rare had a part in many of those classic games it certainly could help Nintendo’s profit to add some additional nostalgic characters to its platforms. 

If Nintendo were to ever buy Rare back it would likely be to get access to its best characters as well as to use those characters exclusively in the future. Since Rare is owned by Microsoft it is unlikely that they would sell Rare as they wouldn’t want to lose access to those characters. 

In our opinion Nintendo should have sold off rare but bought the rights to Rare’s best characters in 2002. That would have allowed Nintendo to add a few more nostalgic characters to its library and make the Nintendo consoles in even more demand.  

Awards and Recognition of Rare limited

There is no doubt about the excellence of this British company as a lot of awards have been won by this renowned video gaming firm. It has received the award titled “BAFTA”, for best developers in the UK. They had developed the game GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 which they won this title for. 

The BAFTA award was again claimed by Rare limited in 2000 for developing “Perfect Dark”. The Gamasutra accoladed Rare limited as one of the top 30 developers of all time and was positioned on the 36th rank for making the best video-games.


Although in our opinion Nintendo should have never sold its 49% stake in Rare without at least getting exclusivity to Rare’s characters in our opinion it is very unlikely Nintendo will ever buy Rare back. 

Not only would buying Rare from a competitor cost Nintendo a large amount of money it is unlikely that Microsoft would want to help Nintendo at all by even entertaining an offer for the company or the Rare characters either. 

What is likely to happen is that Nintendo will continue to be upset that they sold Rare in 2002 and nothing will change in the future.