The big news everyone was talking about on my Twitter feed today had to do with Activision Blizzard and the announcement that they have agreed to acquire King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion. There is much speculation about what will happen as a result of this acquisition.
Blizzard Entertainment is the creator of World of Warcraft. They merged with Activision, maker of the Call of Duty games, in 2008. Together, they are Activision Blizzard. If you visit the website of the merged companies, you can find out about career openings in Activision, or in Blizzard Entertainment. The two companies are merged, but appear to have some independence.
King Digital Entertainment is a company that makes mobile games. The games themselves can be played for free. However, each game allows for in-game purchases. There has been much discussion about whether or not that mechanism means that the game is truly free to play (or if one must spend some real world currency in order to advance in the game.) To be fair, King is not the only mobile gaming company that uses in-game purchases. It’s fairly common.
You might know King from the Candy Crush Saga game, which is a match-three game that gained some popularity. Which brings me to some of the litigious history surrounding some of King’s games. There was a time when King had a trademark related lawsuit with Albert Ransom, the developer of CandySwipe. In 2014, the two parties each withdrew their lawsuit against the other one.
In addition, King was involved in a lawsuit with Stoic Studio. This was another trademark related lawsuit regarding Stoic Studio’s game The Banner Saga. The two companies came to an agreement that protected their respective trademarks in 2014.
Activision has some mobile games that can be played on iPhone or iPad, and a few that are available on Android. Blizzard Entertainment, however, has just begun entering the mobile gaming arena with Hearthstone. It is a virtual card game that started out as available on PC and Mac, and later became playable on iOS and Android.
It appears that the acquisition of King could be for the purpose of helping Blizzard Entertainment to create more mobile games. There are a lot of people who play Hearthstone on a mobile device. It will be interesting to see what mobile games appear in the future that have something to do with Blizzard Entertainment’s games, characters, and existing content.