In an official statement released by Activision Blizzard yesterday, the company announced that it had acquired King Digital Entertainment, who develops the wildly-popular puzzle game Candy Crush for smartphone and Facebook platforms, for $5.9 Billion US. Activision Blizzard “will acquire all of the outstanding shares of King,” and expects to complete the transaction by Spring 2016.
By acquiring King, Activision Blizzard seems to be tapping into as many facets of the gaming industry as possible, including the burgeoning mobile gaming industry. The press release states that
Activision Blizzard believes that the addition of King’s highly-complementary business will position Activision Blizzard as a global leader in interactive entertainment across mobile, console and PC platforms, and positions the company for future growth. The combined company will have a world-class interactive entertainment portfolio of top-performing franchises, including two of the top five highest-grossing mobile games in the U.S. (Candy Crush Saga®, Candy Crush Soda Saga™), the world’s most successful console game franchise (Call of Duty®), and the world’s most successful personal computing franchise (World of Warcraft®), as well as such well known franchises as Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, StarCraft®, and Diablo® and Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero®, Skylanders® and Destiny, along with over 1,000 game titles in its library.
It goes on to say that “Activision Blizzard expects that this leading content, together with expertise across subscription, upfront purchase, free-to-play and micro-transaction business models will enhance Activision Blizzard’s position as one of the world’s most successful interactive entertainment companies.”
This press release follows on the heels of another statement by Blizzard, which announced that the company will no longer report on the number of subscribers for their signature MMORPG, World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft lost a catastrophic number of subscribers during the lifespan of its current Warlords of Draenor expansion, with a released percentage of over one-third of the game’s userbase. Though Blizzard plans to release more WoW expansions in the future (with another, Legion, already on its way), Activision’s plans to spread its roots elsewhere comes as no surprise in this context.
Blizzard’s annual company expo, Blizzcon, opens this Friday and runs through Saturday. Whether Blizzard will discuss the company’s decision to acquire King Digital or not remains to be seen, but more news on the merger is sure to surface in the coming months.