A few days ago, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard, a sensational operation that will end in fiscal 2023 and allows Redmond to obtain IPs with great commercial appeal. Among these, the names on everyone’s lips are obviously Call of Duty, Diablo and Overwatch that undoubtedly enrich the already excellent Game Pass and at the same time weaken the competition on consoles and PCs. However, many forget, ignore or underestimate the importance of the games of King, Call of Duty: Mobile e Diablo Immortal in this acquisition, which in fact make the newly created Microsoft Gaming a true giant in the mobile market (Android and iOS).
Like it or not, mobile games are the most profitable sector of the market of games of all time. We say, Microsoft tells us, that nearly 95% of the world’s gamers play on mobile; Take-Two tells us it acquired Zynga for nearly $13 billion; the market itself tells us so, with 2021 closing with 116 billion dollars spent by iOS and Android users.
Just to name a few numbers, King generated the highest grossing from Activision Blizzard in the third quarter of fiscal 2021, or $652 million, thanks to a player base of 249 million players. THE Candy Crush alone generated $7.1 billion in revenue since 2014, while spin-off Candy Crush Soda Saga is at $2.9 billion. And we could go on mentioning the numbers of Farm Heroes, Pet Rescue, Bubble Witch and all the other King games. It is no accident that Activision Blizzard spent 5.9 billion dollars to incorporate it in 2015.
But there is not just the great King. Call of Duty: Mobile, created in collaboration with Tencent, in May last year reached a billion dollars in revenue 19 months after its launch, with $30.37 million recorded as of November 2021. And finally there’s Diablo Immortal, but in this case we are talking about an unknown since it has not yet arrived in digital stores. It was certainly not well received by fans of the brand, but it is undeniable that the game has potential and can win over millions of players around the world.
All this to say that the mobile division of Activision Blizzard merged into Microsoft Gaming is certainly not just a welcome extra, but actually is one of the main reasons that convinced the Redmond giant to invest almost 70 billion dollars for this acquisition.
The mobile market is tempting for everyone, but so far Microsoft has struggled to establish itself. Of course, there is Minecraft evergreen, which according to Sensor Tower data has been downloaded for iOS and Android by 237 million players since 2014 and is one of the most successful paid games. But the rest? Minecraft Earth was a flop, Forza Street will close its doors soon the only other mobile IP worth noting is Fallout Shelter, which came thanks to the acquisition of Bethesda. But thanks to Activision Blizzard, Microsoft now has all the firepower needed to conquer the mobile market with games from the Xbox via xCloud (Xbox Cloud Gaming) and titles made specifically for iOS and Android, such as Candy Crush and Diablo Immortal and, who knows, in the future also projects related to the brands of Halo, Gears of War and The Elder Scrolls.
Microsoft’s strategy, in some ways very aggressive, is becoming increasingly clear: play as a protagonist in almost all segments of the video game market and do it in 360°. From traditional console hardware sales to cloud gaming, from benchmark subscription service offering to mobile gaming.