Microsoft’s acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion is yet another play by the tech giant to secure its stake in the nascent Metaverse and bring more intellectual property (IP) under the Xbox and Game Pass umbrella, industry experts said on Wednesday.
In the biggest deal ever in the world of gaming, Microsoft announced acquiring Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular games like Call of Duty (CoD) and Warcraft.
Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue when the transaction closes, behind Tencent and Sony.
According to Forrester VP, Research Director Mike Proulx, the company announced its vision for a Metaverse tech stack in May.
“The acquisition of Activision Blizzard further expands their gaming footprint across PC, consoles, and mobile,” he told IANS.
What this means is that Microsoft is now holding an ever-increasing number of important cards in the developing metaverse: Back-end infrastructure, devices, and a rapidly growing experience platform, Proulx noted.
Following on the 2014 acquisitions of Mojang (makers of Minecraft) and the 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax Media/Bethesda (makers of Doom, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout), Activision Blizzard brings IP like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush to Microsoft’s portfolio.
Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95 percent of all players globally enjoying games on mobile.
The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers.
“Microsoft and Xbox already have Xbox Game Studios, which in themselves have some really impressive IP (in addition to what’s mentioned above, Forzia, Halo, Age of Empires, and Gears of War are part of their portfolio), and more under that umbrella now as well,” said Forrester analyst Will McKeon-White.
Neil Shah, Vice President, Research at Counterpoint, said that it is a huge step for Microsoft to boost its position in the world of gaming.
“Content is king and with this, Microsoft becomes one of the largest gaming content producers in the world — ready to harness Azure Cloud, Xbox and Cloud gaming capabilities. It is a natural extension for the company towards its XR (Extended Reality) and Metaverse plans,” Shah said.