Microsoft’s Pursuit Of Activision Was All About Mobile And PC, Phil Spencer Says

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has commented further on its proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard, saying the company sought to purchase the giant to help flesh out its mobile business.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Spencer said the “biggest gaming platform on the planet is mobile phones,” adding that 1.5 billion people play games on mobile devices.

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The executive went on to say that Microsoft, “regretfully,” doesn’t have much of a presence on mobile in terms of gaming.

“We don’t have a lot of creative capability that has built hit mobile games. We really started the discussions, internally at least, on Activision Blizzard, on the capability they had on mobile, and then PC with Blizzard,” he said. “Those were the two things that were really driving our interest.”

If Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard goes through, Microsoft would take ownership of Activision Blizzard’s franchises, including its King division which runs the Candy Crush series. Activision Blizzard itself paid about $6 billion for King back in 2015. King is a juggernaut and Candy Crush is consistently one of the most popular and lucrative mobile games on the planet.

Activision has said it will make mobile games based on every one of its franchises, so Microsoft would take ownership of those, too, if/when its deal goes through. One of Activision’s next big mobile games is Project Aurora, a new Call of Duty game set to be revealed during the Call of Duty Next event.

The mobile games business is larger than console and PC, which helps explain why various other companies in gaming, including EA, have spent billions on acquiring mobile game studios and franchises.

Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard is in the process of getting approval from regulatory bodies around the world. Spencer has said he is feeling good about the progress so far, but he’s never done a deal this big, so his optimism doesn’t mean all that much, he admitted.

There is no specific timeline for when Microsoft’s proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard may go through, but Microsoft expects the deal to close by the end of its fiscal year ending June 2023. Microsoft originally announced it would pay $68.7 billion for Activision Blizzard, but The Wall Street Journal and others have reported that the number is actually $75 billion.

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