The ranking of the most expensive acquisitions in the world of video games

The ranking of the most expensive acquisitions in the world of video games

Large maneuvers and strategic acquisitions have always been fundamental elements in the world of the dollar-lined business, but in the world of video games we are not very used to seeing operations such as the maxi-purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, a real record in history. . The latter comes in the midst of a period in which "consolidation" has become a recurring word: it is these extensive maneuvers aimed at building massive alignments, agglomerating different entities within a larger company. In this way, the acquired company obtains greater economic stability, while the buyer expands its production capacity, in a relationship of interdependence that should bring benefits to both. The downside can be a reduction in creative freedom and a possible decline in choice for users, given the concentration of power among a small number of players in the market.

We had just had time to be amazed of the Zynga operation, which cost Take Two a good 12 billion dollars and until yesterday the most expensive maneuver seen so far on the market, which Microsoft has seen fit to rewrite history and largely overcome its own acquisition of Zenimax (although impressive too ' it, at the time) with a monstrous purchase of almost 70 billion dollars. If all goes well, we will see the conclusion of the deal only in a year, but in the meantime this announcement provides the starting point for an overview of the most expensive acquisition operations seen so far in the videogame market, taking into account that we will talk about decidedly different figures compared to this one. latest expense from Microsoft.

Let's see the ranking of the most expensive acquisitions in the world of video games, placed in descending order.

Microsoft - Activision Blizzard, $ 68 billion (2022)

Xbox Game Studio gets historic teams and brands with Activision Blizzard Just in case Microsoft needed confirmation that Microsoft does seriously on the videogame market, here is the most expensive acquisition ever seen in this sector and beyond, given that in fact it is one of the most expensive in the entertainment market in general, also considering the rich operations that take place in the cinematographic field. It is still to be understood whether the maneuver will pass unscathed through the various supervisory bodies, because there is a big risk that the antitrust will have something to say about the concentration of such power with a single actor, but in the meantime the operation is was announced on January 18, 2022: Activision Blizzard is expected to join Xbox Game Studios, bringing its teams and all games and franchises - including Call of Duty, Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Overwatch - to Microsoft's court. This is an event capable of shaking the balance of the market and providing Xbox Game Pass with an impressive supply of products, all for a figure that exceeds those of the other 15 major videogame acquisitions combined.

Take Two - Zynga, $ 12 billion (2022)

Zynga, the company headquarters building In what will be remembered as the shortest record in history, Take Two has announced the acquisition of Zynga on January 10, 2022 for 12 billion dollars, which until a few hours ago represented the highest amount ever spent in an operation of this kind in the videogame field. Although it may seem like a crazy expense for a company specializing in smartphone games, it was instead a very careful strategic choice by the publisher, which has secured a portfolio of games capable of generating very high profits with a relatively low expense. , as well as all the know-how of the Zynga teams for the development of new titles on mobile platforms. If we add to this the possibility of drawing on the Take Two franchises to create smartphone games, it is clear where everything can go: we are talking about GTA Mobile or other adaptations of the titles belonging to the 2K and Rockstar Games catalogs, just to give a idea.

Tencent - Supercell, $ 8.6 billion (2016)

The founder of Supercell, Ilkka Paananen, and the president of Tencent, Martin Lau In this case it is not really a question of a real acquisition, but of an almost complete takeover: in 2016, when the expansionist aims of the Chinese giant began to clearly emerge, Tencent acquired 84.3% of Supercell, based on estimates reported by Reuters, of done by securing an absolute majority of the shares and the ability to control the company. Although it may seem like a minor purchase, it is necessary to see how much revenue the Clash of Clans series on mobile platforms totals each year, and all the various derivatives: it is a game that is firmly in the rankings of the most profitable products for years and the maneuver of Tencent has probably paid off for itself with just that and Clash Royale. Shortly afterwards, Brawl Stars also arrived on the market, establishing a new mobile phenomenon among the youngest and enriching the coffers of Tencent even more, which from then on saw fit to never stop with purchases.

Microsoft - Zenimax, $ 8 billion (2021)

Bethesda and Xbox remains one of the most suggestive acquisitions We meet Microsoft again for what, until a few days ago, was one of the largest operations ever seen in the video game market, or the famous acquisition of Zenimax. However, it remains one of the most evocative maneuvers seen in this area. From the point of view of the quality and heterogeneity of the teams involved, however, it is perhaps the most interesting: with Zenimax 8 teams have entered Xbox Game Studios including Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, MachineGames and Tango GameWorks, enriching Microsoft first parties are substantial with a wide variety of distinctive styles and genres. Almost 8 billion dollars that should bear fruit, considering the potential of the franchises involved, although it should be noted that so far Bethesda is only going to publish PlayStation exclusive games, due to the agreements made previously between and two companies. >

Activision Blizzard - King, 5.9 billion dollars (2015)

Activision Blizzard and King, the company logos Like a sort of Chinese box, a not indifferent piece of the treasure kept in Activision's halls Blizzard in turn derives from another acquisition, carried out to incorporate King into his stable. The label in question has built its mobile empire on Candy Crush, one of the major phenomena to emerge in this market and incredibly still widespread and enjoyed by millions of players, mostly casual, in one of its various current derivations. The game was worth almost by itself the price tag, just under 6 billion dollars, guaranteeing Activision Blizzard directly a prominent place in the crowded panorama of video games on smartphones. All of this will be transferred directly to Microsoft in the event that the acquisition ends, representing an outpost of incredible power within this particular but lucrative segment of the gaming market.

Microsoft - Mojang (2014), 2.5 billion dollars

Mojang and Minecraft were an onerous but very profitable acquisition We begin to see a recurring pattern regarding the main players of the most expensive acquisitions: in sixth position we still find Microsoft , protagonist of the bulk acquisition of the Swedish team Mojang and above all of its creature: Minecraft, which from that moment came into possession of the Redmond house. The agreements made still remain a rather surprising element of the whole operation: contrary to what one might think, Microsoft has not imposed a precise direction on the team and above all it has let the game remain and be expanded and supported on all platforms. present on the market, complete with special elaborations dedicated to some consoles and specific partnership agreements. Indeed, even the next Minecraft Dungeons has arrived on all platforms on the market. While the $ 2.5 billion initially seemed like a huge amount for Minecraft alone, it proved to be a far-sighted investment, as the game went on to become the best-selling title in video game history and brought huge revenues to Microsoft. >

EA - Glu Mobile, 2.1 billion dollars (2021)

EA and Glu, another important acquisition in the mobile sector Another important acquisition concerning the mobile market is that of Glu Mobile , bought by Electronic Arts for a whopping 2.1 billion dollars. Over the years, we have noticed how often these operations take place between traditional publishers and labels specialized in mobile platforms, as if the former were not yet able to interface perfectly with the fluid smartphone market and prefer, in principle, to rely on those who are already a lot. expert and established in the sector, even in the face of really substantial expenses. On the other hand, only a small percentage of software houses really manage to emerge in the mobile field, also due to its nature so dispersive and led to infinite fashions and clones, therefore it may be easier to point directly to those who are already in one. dominance, rather than hoping to make the climb from the bottom up with a new label.

Facebook - Oculus, $ 2 billion (2014)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook (now Meta), with Oculus Rift in the lead All in all rather measured was the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook, a move that nevertheless sparked considerable discussions in 2014, when it was completed. These were the beginnings of the new wave of interest in virtual reality and Palmer Luckey's company had all the characteristics of the startup destined to become the dream "next big thing" in Silicon Valley. Facebook had not yet shown great interest in video games, so that acquisition seemed a sort of annoying invasion of the field by a social network, but the scale of the operation was underestimated. Rather than thinking of hardcore gamers with PCs worth thousands of euros, Zuckerberg's company already saw the new possibilities of interaction provided by VR viewers, perhaps already with a primordial idea of ​​the metaverse that was developing in those years. In any case, as we have seen, the evolution of Oculus products has also been convincing from a videogame point of view.

Bandai - Namco, 1.7 billion dollars (2005)

The founder by Namco Masaya Nakamura (center) with Vice-President Kyushiro Takagi (left) and President Takeo Takasu It now seems a trifle compared to the acquisitions we are seeing these days, but in 2005 the takeover of Namco by Bandai, which gave birth to the current Bandai Namco, was a high-profile operation costing $ 1.7 billion. By merging the Banpresto division within it, the company thus became one of the major players on the Japanese and world videogame market, thanks also to the wide portfolio of franchises and titles in possession. Beyond the historical games of Namco, Bandai can count on a large amount of series in different media, having control of Shonen Jump, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and other traditional titles including manga, anime and TV series, which over time they increased in quantity until the conglomerate became a real entertainment giant. It is currently the third Japanese company in the sector after Sony and Nintendo, with publishing activities that also extend abroad on Western products such as The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.

Tencent - Leyou Technologies, 1.5 billions of dollars (2020)

The giant Tencent is recognized by the building that serves as the headquarters Certainly less flashy than the others, even the acquisition of Leyou Technologies has caused a sensation, however, demonstrating once again how Tencent intends to get really serious in its expansion into the gaming market. Leyou is already a holding company that contains more developers, so in one fell swoop Tencent secured the support of some notable developers: inside the company there are Digital Extremes, known worldwide for its Warframe , Splash Damage which includes several important collaborations such as the one with The Coalition for Gears of War and Gears Tactics, but also the development of the Enemy Territory series, and Certain Affinity, also a support team that has several important games in the curriculum between chapters of Halo, Doom and Call of Duty. This is just one of the many acquisitions of Tencent, but perhaps also one of the most strategic by the Chinese giant.

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