Gaming Company Activision Blizzard Buys 'Candy Crush' Developer

Nov 3, 2015
Originally published on November 10, 2015 7:48 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

When we talk about gamers, we usually picture boys playing "Call Of Duty" on consoles in the basement. But many gamers are women, and they like to play on mobile devices. So today, Activision Blizzard, which makes "Call Of Duty," announced a deal to purchase mobile gaming company King Digital. Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick knows firsthand how addicting King Digital's biggest hit, "Candy Crush," can be.

BOBBY KOTICK: It's funny, I was sitting in the board meeting yesterday and I was playing the game and I realized that I had to pay better attention. Then I put it down because I was embarrassed.

SYDELL: Clearly Kotick was paying enough attention to make the case to his board that purchasing mobile game maker King Digital for $5.9 billion was a good idea. Kotick has been focused on big console games like "Call Of Duty," a wildly popular first-person shooter franchise that's been around since 2003. The franchise started as a World War II fantasy and the latest update is a sci-fi cyborg war. It's a lot different than King Digital's big hit, "Candy Crush," in which players try and match-up groups of brightly-colored candies for a reward of bigger candies and more points.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: Divine.

SYDELL: But CEO Kotick thinks the audience for games like "Candy Crush" is one Activision needs to tap. According to the research firm Newzoo, mobile games will surpass $40 billion in revenues over the next three years, yet, Kotick realized his company really didn't understand how to make casual games well.

KOTICK: As we started to make investments in mobile game development on our own, we realized it was going to be a very complicated, tricky thing and probably would not be so successful for us until we really got up to speed on the subtleties and idiosyncrasies of the business.

SYDELL: And over 65 percent of mobile gamers are female, compared to less than 30 percent for the big console and PC games, says Wanda Meloni, the CEO of market research firm M2 Advisory Group.

WANDA MELONI: So it really does bring them into a whole new area.

SYDELL: And it does it with "Candy Crush," a game that has half a billion active monthly users in 196 countries. For now "Candy Crush" maker King Digital will continue to work independently, but maybe someday, there'll be a Call of Candy Crush. Laura Sydell, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.