Nintendo is buying the North American studio behind 'Luigi's Mansion 3,' a rare move for the 132-year-old Japanese company

  • In a rare move, Nintendo is outright buying a game-development studio: Next Level Games, the Canadian firm behind the smash-hit Nintendo Switch game "Luigi's Mansion 3."
  • Next Level Games and Nintendo have worked closely in the past, with Next Level taking on major franchises like "Punch-Out!" and "Luigi's Mansion." Their most recent collaboration, "Luigi's Mansion 3," has sold nearly 8 million copies since launch in October 2019.
  • The vast majority of Nintendo's internal game development is handled within Japan, and it rarely buys third-party game studios. 
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In a rare move for the Japanese gaming powerhouse, Nintendo is buying the game studio behind the smash-hit "Luigi's Mansion 3" for the Nintendo Switch.

Canadian studio Next Level Games will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo on March 1 — "pending satisfaction of all relevant terms and conditions" — which Nintendo says will enable, "an anticipated improvement in development speed and quality." 

Nintendo and Next Level Games have worked together for years, going all the way back to the Nintendo GameCube with "Super Mario Strikers" in 2005. More recently, Next Level created "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" for the Nintendo 3DS, and its wildly popular followup "Luigi's Mansion 3" for the Nintendo Switch.

The latter entry has sold nearly 8 million copies since launch on October 31, 2019, according to Nintendo.

Read more: Amid a huge lawsuit against Apple and Google, video-gaming giant Epic Games just signed a nearly $100 million deal to build a massive new headquarters

Of note, Nintendo rarely purchases third-party game studios.

The last major game studio Nintendo purchased was over 10 years ago, when it bought RPG-maker Monolith Soft. Nintendo's first-party game development is largely handled in Japan, with European and North American arms of the company serving as localization and marketing.

If the acquisition is approved, Next Level Games will become Nintendo's game development studio in North America — Retro Studios, based in Texas, was purchased by Nintendo back in 2002. 

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