the structure of the industry
In video games there are 2 major parties: publishers and developers.
Publishers are in charge of distribution, funding and advertising. The Publishers are the ones who make the contracts and get all the money from a game’s success. the Publisher is always the one who owns the intellectual property (IP).
Developers are the people who make the games: they hire the staff for the job. Some developers are tied to a single publisher whereas others are freelance and work for any Publisher who is willing to hire them. Developers enter into a contract with a publisher that could cover a certain number of games.
Nintendo has always kept its main Mario and Zelda franchises within their own EAD studios but they have licensed their other IPs (Donkey Kong for example) to other studios (like Rare). this practice is alive and well with other publishers who license their own properties.
Rockstar Games is a Publisher and a developer that is a subsidiary of Take-Two interactive who owns the majority stake (51% or more) in the company therefore they control the board of directors who make all the big decisions.
Business within the video game industry
Nintendo is the only Hardware, Software Developer/Publisher that works exclusively in video games. Nintendo has branches all across the world: Nintendo of America, Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo Australia to name a few thus making them a global company.
Nintendo is famous for its home consoles, handheld consoles and popular game franchises such as Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Star Fox.
Sony Computer Entertainment is a subsidiarie of Sony and operates as a Publisher and Hardware Developer, They are the Creaters of the famous Playstation brand, The Playstation 1 was the first console to succesfully utilise Disc formats for games which soon became industry standard for future home gaming consoles. Sony Computer Entertainment is a Global company with branches all over the world.
Microsoft are the Publishers and hardware developers reponsible for the Xbox, Xbox was the first home console in the western world to maintain a fully operational community based online service for it’s users called Xbox Live. Online community and competitive gaming are industry standards for all home consoles like the PS3 and Wii, even handheld consoles such as the DS, 3DS and PSP have online functionality. Microsoft is global company like Sony and Nintendo however their market share in Japan has almost been completely phased out in recent months.