In 2007, Nintendo made a major move that at the time, baffled the gaming industry. They bought 85% of game developer MonolithSoft, Inc. from then-parent company, Bandai Namco. The move came as a shock as Nintendo had never historically been known to make big studio acquisitions, let alone one known for edgy niche RPGs like Xenogears or Baten Kaitos Since then, MonolithSoft had grown a tight relationship with Nintendo, operating as part of the company's Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD) Division creating the fan-favorite Xenoblade Chronicles series, along with assisting development of Nintendo's internally developed games such as Animal Crossing and the Zelda series.
But what if that didn't happen? What if MonolithSoft instead was gobbled up by one of Nintendo's competitors? Sony Computer Entertainment or Microsoft. How would Sony or Microsoft run the studio, and how would the lack of MonolithSoft affect Nintendo's output overall?
In Sony's case, I could see it working. SCE at the time, surprisingly didn't have large game development operation in Japan compared to its US and European teams, despite being a Japanese company (and to be quite honest, it still doesn't). Having MonolithSoft under SCE Worldwide Studios could've provided Sony with a reliable developer for RPGs, a genre most of their developers were gradually moving away from in the PS3 and PSP era, and if successful, could've prompted Sony to buy more Japanese studios to compliment it, JAPAN Studio, and Polyphony Digital, and make the Japan side of WWS as large as the US and Europe groups. MonolithSoft could've even had access to engines and tech developed by other Sony teams like Naughty Dog, Gurella, or Santa Monica Studio.
What about Microsoft? It might've been able to work too. Microsoft had never historically been a real player in Japan, and in the early 360 days, the company was attempting to make a splash in the scene in a big way with projects like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and others. MonolithSoft could've been a vital asset to Microsoft Game Studios, and give Microsoft a Japanese developer that could actually compete with the talent at Sony and Nintendo.
Where would that leave Nintendo? Well they would have to find other partners to make high profile RPGs with them, or simply not bother with the genre at all. It also would made projects like Zelda more difficult to produce, with more games getting hit with delays without a studio like MonolithSoft to help out.