It’s Not Complicated. Microsoft Wants Activision for Its Games.
SAN FRANCISCO — It is inevitable now that when a big tech company makes a significant, strategic decision — like Microsoft’s plan to spend $70 billion on the video game giant Activision Blizzard — it invokes the metaverse.
The vision for the metaverse, a virtual world where ideas can be exchanged and digital goods can be sold, has become such a font of enthusiasm that Facebook changed its name to Meta last year. Plenty of other companies envision making billions in this virtual bazaar. So when Microsoft said on Tuesday that Activision would give it “building blocks for the metaverse,” the rationale sounded familiar.
But it wasn’t exactly correct. To Microsoft, the future of video games looks more like a Hollywood studio trying to build a roster of well-known franchises. It’s about assembling a collection of famous games that can be played on all sorts of devices — and the people who know how to make them. Activision, with famous titles like Call of Duty and Candy Crush and more than 5,000 game developers, has plenty of both.
In recent years, Microsoft has shifted its focus from its Xbox console to a gaming environment where high-powered devices matter less than the flexibility to play games wherever and however consumers want, whether on an old iPhone or a cheap laptop. If the company’s vision of the future is correct, cloud gaming, a still-emerging technology that uses a company’s data centers to stream the game to a device, would provide the power instead.