Recent reports have surfaced, suggesting that Microsoft had once set its sights on acquiring Zynga, only to be outmaneuvered by Take-Two. According to Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, Microsoft had seriously considered acquiring the mobile gaming company before it fell into the hands of Take-Two. This move was initially seen as a significant stride for Microsoft in the realm of mobile gaming, as the tech giant remains a secondary player in this steadily growing market.
Spencer openly acknowledged that the intention behind considering Zynga’s acquisition was part of the company’s broader strategy, encompassing the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to Spencer, Xbox lacked an ‘organically winning strategy’ in the mobile gaming arena, primarily because Xbox players tend to shy away from the mobile gaming experience, while mobile gamers are not typically drawn to the console experience.
As reported by IGN, Spencer revealed that Microsoft invested ‘quite a bit of time’ in the Zynga acquisition plan. However, the company ultimately realized that it needed something ‘larger’ to gain a foothold in the mobile market.
“I have great respect for the people at Zynga and what they’ve built. In the end, for our opportunity, we thought we needed something larger than Zynga, given our very limited starting point in mobile gaming business,” Spencer reportedly told the FTC.
This quest for a more substantial entity led Microsoft to cast its gaze towards Activision Blizzard. The gaming giant, especially through its subsidiary King (known for Candy Crush), had made significant strides in the mobile gaming domain. Microsoft was particularly intrigued by Activision Blizzard as one of the largest mobile game publishers outside of China.
Reports suggest that Spencer, along with Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, spent time delving into the mobile opportunities that Activision Blizzard presented. They discussed how its portfolio could reshape Microsoft. This, reportedly, was a major driving force behind Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as detailed by Spencer in interviews leading up to the CMA investigation.
As the FTC investigation unfolds, Microsoft is likely to continue elaborating on its ambitions in the mobile gaming sphere, aiming to validate its acquisition plans and offer alternative narratives regarding the investigation. So far, the focus of the inquiry has primarily revolved around Microsoft’s capability to make upcoming major games Xbox and PC exclusives.