Microsoft’s attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard have been one of the biggest stories in, dare we say, the history of the gaming industry, with ramifications across the entire space. Microsoft’s competitors in console, mobile, and cloud gaming have all voiced their opposition, but what about Activision Blizzard’s competitors?
As one of the biggest game developers in the world, Activision Blizzard arguably has few peers, especially in the Western market - so should they be scared of what the deal means?
One company who is seemingly indifferent about the deal is Electronic Arts, who’s CEO dismissed the deal’s implications for the industry, and the potential for future consolidation, reports Video Games Chronicle.
Following the company’s latest earnings call, CEO Andrew Wilson said, “This is a question I get asked a lot - I almost am never allowed to answer that question, as it turns out. What I would say is, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Activision and Microsoft.
Words from a CEO
“Again, we continue to be Microsoft’s biggest partner - I think we’re the number one publisher on their platform - so whether that deal goes through or not is not really material to us broadly. We think we have the scale [with] our network, our IP and our talent to continue to navigate the future and lead the future of entertainment, and compete in a marketplace regardless of whether that deal goes through or not.”
Discussing the implications of the deal in terms of consolidation, Wilson stated, “Longer term, you know, will there be industry consolidation? Will there be broader entertainment consolidation? If I was predicting the future over the long term I would say that’s an almost certainty at some level.
“I would love for us to have the scale to be a meaningful consolidator in that space. I think that we have tremendous assets with respect to the future of entertainment.”
So why has EA been overlooked for acquisition? Well, one significant factor, as always, is mobile. Microsoft has repeatedly insisted that, while the largest barriers it’s faced have regarded cloud gaming and the console market, the chief reasoning for the deal is Activision Blizzard’s strength on mobile through subsidiary King. While this has led to concern from mobile competitors - notably Google, who seemingly fear that Microsoft could make King’s titles exclusive to Microsoft’s planned app store.
While EA remains a significant player in the mobile space - despite the recent slowdown of growth of its mobile gaming interests - Activision Blizzard’s ownership of King makes it one of the mobile sector’s biggest names. Notably, recent rumours have suggested that Zynga owner Take-Two Interactive has been eyed up as an acquisition target by Microsoft competitor Sony.