Xbox boss Phil Spencer has lifted the lid on Microsoft’s upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard, claiming the company was largely motivated by the need to invest in the mobile and PC gaming markets. Spencer admitted to Bloomberg that Microsoft had not experienced the greatest success on mobile devices, given its current focus on consoles and PC. As the mobile market grows around the world, having a multi-pronged approach to gaming is becoming more essential.
‘When we were thinking about what we are capable of doing today and where do we need to go, the biggest gaming platform on the planet is mobile phones. One and a half billion people play on mobile phones,’ Spencer told Bloomberg. ‘And I guess regretfully as Microsoft it’s not a place we have a native platform. As gaming, coming from console and PC, we don’t have a lot of creative capability that has built hit mobile games.’
‘We really started the discussions, internally at least, on Activision Blizzard around the capability they had on mobile and then PC with Blizzard. Those were the two things that were really driving our interest.’
Activision Blizzard has a strong presence in the mobile gaming space, having recently launched dungeon-crawler Diablo Immortal to great financial success around the globe, and offering a range of other mobile experiences including Call of Duty Mobile, Hearthstone, and the upcoming Warcraft Arclight Rumble.
The company also owns King, creator of Candy Crush, which likely sweetened the deal. Having experienced mobile developers on board means Microsoft will have a better launching pad to explore mobile gaming options for its own properties – should the company wish to pursue this avenue.
According to Spencer, this tenured experience was directly sought out when Microsoft began considering targets for acquisition. He described Activision Blizzard as a ‘good fit in terms of what [Microsoft] was trying to do.’
Going forward, it’s expected that Microsoft will double down in the mobile gaming space, looking to the guidance of Activision Blizzard, and its success with titles like Diablo Immortal, to determine future developments. The company will rely on the acquisition deal successfully passing through regulatory approval, but with several hurdles already cleared, the future of Microsoft’s mobile gaming division is looking clearer.
Expect to hear more about Xbox mobile and PC gaming plans for the future as the Activision Blizzard acquisition deal progresses on a federal US and global level.