‘Call of Duty’ meet ‘Candy Crush’: A look at game mergers

he Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in 2013. (Photo credit: AP photo by Jae C. Hong, file)

he Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in 2013. (Photo credit: AP photo by Jae C. Hong, file)

By Derrik J. Lang
AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES — Activision’s deal unveiled Tuesday to acquire “Candy Crush” publisher King Entertainment for $5.9 billion eclipses several recent video game industry acquisitions. A closer look at how these mash-ups are impacting the interactive industry:

The publisher of the successful “Call of Duty,” “Skylanders” and “Guitar Hero” series will be adding another popular — but not growing — franchise to its arsenal: “Candy Crush.” Activision Blizzard’s $5.9 billion purchase of mobile game maker King Entertainment would sweeten the publisher’s push into mobile gaming in recent years, following the release of “Call of Duty” and “Skylanders” editions for portable devices.

The maker of Windows operating systems and Xbox game consoles constructed the $2.5 billion purchase of “Minecraft” developer Mojang in 2014. Microsoft quickly begun incorporating the brick-building game series into its new products with the release of a Windows 10 edition of “Minecraft,” as well as demonstrating an augmented reality rendition for use with its prototype HoloLens headset at industry trade events this year.

The social media behemoth acquired the virtual reality startup in 2014 for $2 billion. Oculus has drummed up unbridled interest from game and filmmakers since unleashing its new take on VR technology in 2012. However, the pairing of Facebook and Oculus hasn’t yielded many real-world results. Oculus isn’t planning to release a consumer edition of its immersive Rift headset and Touch controllers until early 2016.

Despite a reported acquisition attempt by Google, online retail giant Amazon successfully captured video game streaming service Twitch for $970 million in 2014. In the year since Amazon bought Twitch, Google competitively launched a dedicated rendition of YouTube for gamers, while Twitch hosted its first fan convention. The company currently boasts that more than 100 million viewers a month are watching content on the platform.

Four years before Activision seeded plans to obtain King Entertainment, rival Electronic Arts made its largest purchase yet with the acquisition of mobile game publisher PopCap Games for $750 million in 2011. The creator of such beloved series as “Plants vs. Zombies,” “Bejeweled” and “Peggle” has since released console versions of its games. The latest edition, “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2,” is set to sprout in spring 2016.


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