Today, Activision Blizzard owns an even bigger chunk of the games industry, with the official acquisition of King Digital Entertainment – that is, the company that makes Candy Crush. The deal includes not only all of King’s various mobile and casual games, but its estimated audience of more than 500 million users.
And joke all you want about things like Call Of Duty Crush and Skylanders Saga, but Activision has announced that King will be left to operate as an independent studio, with key officers – CEO Riccardo Zacconi, COO Stephane Kurgan and CCO Sebastian Knutsson – remaining in charge. The difference (of course) is that the developer now has a decent chunk of cash behind it, which makes a welcome change to nine months ago, when things were looking a bit grim.
Activision Blizzard paid US$5.9 billion for the company in November last year, which is simultaneously a bargain for a company like King and a pretty hefty chunk of cash to sink into mobile gaming. With mobile games accounting for a massive 19% of spending on video game software in the US in the 12 months before September 2015, it looks like the publisher decided the best way to increase its stake in the handheld market was just to buy the competition, at $18/share.
King’s latest release, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, hit Facebook in January 2016, and has already claimed more than 10,000,000 monthly users.