Microsoft Closes $69B Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has closed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, nearly two years after agreeing to the company’s largest purchase ever, giving it another potential avenue to reach consumers through advertising.

regulatory filing, Form 8-K, filed on Friday describes its largest deal to date after ongoing competition concerns from U.K. and European regulators and gained a favorable ruling from a U.S. district judge. 

The deal gives Microsoft an extensive portfolio of video game franchises it can take to advertisers, which includes Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Diablo, Overwatch, StarCraft, Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Warcraft.



“Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote in a blog post. The company plans to share more in the coming months.

Activision Blizzard generated about $7.5 billion just in revenue in its latest fiscal year, a small fraction of the $212 billion in sales by Microsoft.

Characters from Activision Blizzard games in the video accompanying the announcement say they have now finally found their home with Microsoft. "It's about time," one says.

Activision Blizzard also offers mobile games, which will give Microsoft a boost on the platform. Last year mobile games made more money than their console and PC sales combined.

Microsoft said in its Q2 2022 financial report that from April to June 2022, more than half of Activision Blizzard's revenue came from mobile games. This could have been residuals from the increase in play during the COVID lockdowns, but the trend continues. 

In Activision Blizzard’s annual report published March 2023, the company wrote that “mobile gaming is estimated to be larger than console and PC gaming, and has grown at a significant rate over the last five years.”

All of the company’s reportable segments have successful live mobile titles in the market, as developers continue to build new mobile titles that present the opportunity to expand the reach of -- and drive additional player investment in -- its products. It also will give advertisers access to more players.

Total Activision Blizzard mobile app revenue in September 2023 was $138 million, including $81 million for iOS apps and $57 million for Android apps, according to SensorTower. Total mobile app downloads for Activision Blizzard came in at 18 million, including 4 million iOS app downloads and 14 million Android app downloads.

In Q2 2023, Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Mobile surpassed $3 billion in lifetime revenue. The game was launched in 2019. 

There are 3.2 billion mobile gamers worldwide, and many are open to certain in-game ad integrations as long as they enhance the game play, rather impede it, according to in-game advertising experience platform Monetizr.

A Monetizr survey, which initially engaged more than 207,000 respondents about demographic data, asked 3,000 of them a set of questions based on sentiment toward in-game advertising.

Some 26.17% of participants favored ads seamlessly woven into the gameplay, becoming an integral part of the action. In contrast, 24.55% of respondents preferred advertisements to be distinct from their gaming experience, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a separation between gameplay and promotional content. These diverse preferences highlight the intricate balance needed when integrating advertising into the mobile gaming industry.

The study highlighted a significant shift in mobile gaming demographics, challenging traditional stereotypes, with 43% of the 207,000 respondents belonging to the Boomer or Gen X generations, while 40% were from the Gen Z and younger. Millennials made up 17% of the mobile gaming community, with 51% of the 207,000 identified themselves as female.

Some 31.43% of respondents said they typically play for five hours or more daily, and 60% play between two and four hours per day. About 30.27% of gamers dedicate up to one hour to their favorite games, demonstrating a widespread appeal across varied playing durations.

Mobile gamers show a strong desire to engage with in-game ads offering tangible benefits, with 44.86% of respondents expressing a willingness to redeem real-world rewards or discounts when presented through mobile game ads. In contrast, 15.2% stated that they would never respond to such offers, while the remaining respondents indicated a need for further consideration.

Free-to-Play (F2P) games and ads for monetization, just 15.68% of survey participants said they would consider stopping gameplay if publishers continued to use ads, and 44% of players would continue their gameplay, with 19.57% of them noting their likelihood to click on the ads for further exploration.

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