The company behind the hugely successful
“Call of Duty” has struck a $5.9 billion deal to buy the makers of the highly addictive “Candy Crush” and take advantage of the way video games are moving out of living rooms and onto smartphones and tablets.
Activision Blizzard’s purchase of King Digital Entertainment, announced Tuesday, will create one of the world’s biggest entertainment networks, with more than a half-billion monthly active users in 196 countries, by Activision’s count.
The move is expected to help Activision get its home-console games onto players’ mobile devices, a market with seemingly huge potential. The company said it expects mobile gaming to generate more than $36 billion in revenue by the end of 2015 and grow more than 50 percent by 2019.
The deal is also bound to help Activision attract more women as customers. Activision’s fortunes tend to hinge on its latest “Call of Duty” game. Launched in 2003, the violent, first-person shooter games generated $11 billion in sales through the
end of the 2014 fiscal year. Activision also makes the “World of Warcraft” and “Skylanders” games.
While those kinds of games don’t traditionally appeal to women, Activision CEO Robert Kotick told CNBC on Tuesday that about 60 percent of King’s audience is female.
“Attracting women to gaming is a really important part of our strategy,” he said.
“Candy Crush” has proved one of the most addictive mobile games, so much so that a British lawmaker was admonished after being caught playing it during a parliamentary hearing.