Activision Blizzard confirms that the buyout of Candy Crush developer King is now complete, with CEO Bobby Kotick suggesting it has made the ‘largest game network in the world’.
Last year, it became apparent that Activision Blizzard was not content with simply running some of the biggest gaming franchises in the world. Rather than resting on the somewhat sizeable laurels of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Destiny, the publisher instead decided to buy out King, the developer of mobile free-to-play hit Candy Crush Saga, for a huge $5.9 billion. Now, it’s been made apparent that this purchase has now been finalized.
The confirmation of the buyout was revealed by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement, proclaiming that Activision now held on to the “largest game network in the world.” This may be a strong claim, but there could be a fair amount to truth to his statement. It has been estimated that the acquisition will allow the publisher to reach approximately 500 million users overall.
Although specifics of how Activision Blizzard is planning to utilize King within its overall strategy are unclear, Kotick also suggested that the developer could take on some of the other hugely popular franchises that sit under the publisher’s wing. “We see great opportunities to create new ways for audiences to experience their favorite franchises,” said Kotick, citing both World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. Kotick hinted towards branching out these series across multiple devices, including “mobile devices, consoles, and personal computers.”
King CEO Riccardo Zacconi also commented on the takeover, explaining that the developer is “thrilled to now be a part of Activision Blizzard.” The developer, which has drawn criticism for a number of high-profile lawsuits, will apparently continue working independently, rather than control being taken directly by Activision Blizzard. However, Zacconi also talked up the possibility of working on established series, explaining that the company hopes to “continue developing more exciting games and explore new ways to serve our players and build on the greatest franchises in interactive entertainment.”
Activision will certainly be hoping that the finalized purchase of King will bring about a financial boon for the publisher. 2015 saw a number of high profile franchises, including the likes of Skylanders and Guitar Hero, fail to deliver on large investments. The end result has been an unfortunate round of layoffs, as the publisher aims to hone its business strategy for the future.
Whether King will be a long-term solution to Activision Blizzard’s issues with the more casual gamer market remains to be seen, however. Although the company is certainly profitable, creating a number of the most popular mobile games on the market, King has also seen a downturn in financial strength, with profits dropping by $58 million in a year-by-year comparison for 2015. Nonetheless, the mobile powerhouse is bound to provide Activision Blizzard with a steady stream of revenue, if only for the short term.