Activision Blizzard, the maker of the video game Call of Duty, is buying King Digital Entertainment, the maker of mobile game Candy Crush Saga. The price tag? Nearly $6 billion.
While both games have been hugely successful, they represent very different segments of the gaming market. Where Candy Crush is largely a sweet matching game played primarily on a mobile device by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, Call of Duty is a far more complex series of combat games for PCs or consoles.
Different games, different players.
“We don’t, as a company, have a lot of female members in our audiences,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, adding that his company will benefit from King Digital’s mobile expertise.
“Making games for mobile platforms is much more complicated than it would appear,” Kotick said. “And something that we tried and realized was not exactly in our wheelhouse.”
Mobile games are meant to be played while waiting in line at Starbucks, while hardcore gamers may spend hours on a console or online game, said Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities.
“It’s sort of like saying, why doesn’t James Cameron make reality TV shows and why doesn’t Simon Cowell direct the next ‘Avatar?'” he said of the different skill sets required to create games across platforms.
This year, consumers are set to spend $32 billion on mobile and tablet games worldwide, said Dan Cryan, with the market research firm IHS.
“It’s been very rapidly growing and it’s set to continue to grow very nicely,” he said. “Gaming has moved a long way beyond the sort of stereotypical hardcore gamer and has now become an activity for everyone.”
But Cryan cautioned that this acquisition isn’t without risk — it can be hard for mobile gaming companies to carry their audience from one game to the next.
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