Activision is a bit like The Blob, that 1950s movie monster. It keeps eating, and it keeps growing.
Activision’s latest meal isn’t a beloved game studio or hot new indie, but rather a venture in a direction the company has a bit less experience, and it’s not a small meal, either. This time, Activision has consumed the mobile publisher King, best known for Candy Crush Saga, lots of other sugar-related sagas, and trying to trademark the word “Saga.” Okay, maybe we won’t miss them like so many others, but this puts yet another of the biggest games in western markets under a single umbrella: Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush Saga. The deal went down for a whopping $5.9 billion, over twice that of the $2.5 billion Microsoft paid for Minecraft.
Kotick said in a prepared statement that the mobile publisher will continue to operate independently, but ultimately the money is ending up in the same place, turning what was already a big company into a monolithic one. As GamesBeat points out, Activision and King were already two of the biggest game companies, and together they’ll stand head and shoulders over just about everyone else on the market with the exception of the Chinese publisher Tencent, who has investment in League of Legends and Epic Games.
At this point Activision has some of the most popular products in each of the biggest categories with the exception of the MOBA space. World of Warcraft continues to rule the MMO space, while Call of Duty is still the king of the hill in the shooter world. Destinybridges the gap between the two. Skylanders was the first Toys to Life game and continues to do well in spite of Disney Infinity, LEGO Dimensions, and Nintendo’s amiibo line. Now they’re tops in the mobile space, too.
This isn’t typically a space most core gamers care about, but with this acquisition it’s something to watch.