Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher between Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
The deal is worth $68.7bn, and now becomes the company's largest acquisition, after its $26bn deal to acquire LinkedIn back in 2016.
The move represents another major metaverse related move, and Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella sees gaming as key to this:
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”
The deal makes Microsoft the world's third biggest gaming company behind Tencent and Sony, as well as access to Activision’s 390 million monthly users.
Microsoft already owns huge games, including Halo, Flight Sim and Minecraft, which are essentially metaverses, and it already has plans to convert these into full 3D worlds.
With gaming commanding so much of people's time and attention, especially during the pandemic, the acquisition of Activision increases Microsoft's potential in gaming, which is expected to be a key aspect of the metaverse.
Tech companies have been placing some pretty strong bets on the metaverse, with the renaming of Facebook as Meta being a prime example. These moves and acquisitions reflect a kind of arms race as brands look to command users' attention in this new arena.