Activision Blizzard Buys King Digital Entertainment
I found out about Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of King Digital Entertainment via the BBC Business website. From my perspective the notion of a leading US games developer that has a foothold in all major markets, buying in to the mobile sector hardly comes as a surprise. The price is perhaps the main talking point and does raise the question of the potential over valuing tech based companies. $5.9 Billion is after all a tidy sum of money. However what this deal does prove is the financial importance of the mobile gaming market.
Gaming like many other pastimes has a social hierarchy among its fan base, which is rife with preconceptions, snobbery and self-aggrandisement. For many mobile gaming is still frowned upon and considered in some quarters not to be “proper” gaming. There will be a wealth of blog posts and commentary about this business deal, decrying it as foolhardy. A popular refrain will be how the money could be better spent producing a particular product that specific fans want. This is the nature of fandom; a tunnel vision perspective driven by one’s own desires.
The reality of the situation is very simple. Mobile gaming, irrespective of its perceived artistic and creative merits, is an extremely lucrative business. Therefore the opinion of those who are not part of the existing customer base is hardly of any major significance to developers. Those with entrenched views are hardly likely to succumb to marketing and therefore cease to be of any importance in any ongoing promotional campaign. Sadly logic seldom has any impact upon the white noise generated by “core gamers”.
Over time I have become increasingly more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. It is as fluid and intriguing as any other global market. Compared to the emotive and often self-absorbed tirades I see coming from the gaming community, the machinations of companies such as Activision Blizzard are far more interesting. This simply highlights the gulf between business and the imperatives of the market compared to the capricious nature of fans aspirations. Am I growing out of gaming? No but I may well be growing out of the community.