The five most expensive acquisitions of video game developers of all time

The video game industry has experienced a buying frenzy in recent years, and the price of each acquisition only seems to increase. With Take-Two’s decision to buy Zynga for an industry record amount, we thought we would look back on the five most expensive acquisitions in gaming history.

Going through the list of acquisitions, a trend emerges. See if you can spot it.

5. Bytedance acquires Moonton: $ 4 billion

Chinese publisher Bytedance is perhaps best known for being the parent company of viral video app TikTok. It acquired mobile developer Moonton in March 2021 for $ 4 billion. Moonton’s most popular game, an iOS and Android MOBA called Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has gained attention in recent years as League of Legends developer Riot Games sued him for copyright infringement. The game remains popular across Southeast Asia to this day. On a list of the most expensive video game developer acquisitions of all time, $ 4 billion seems like a steal compared to what other companies have paid.

4. Activision Blizzard acquires King: $ 5.9 billion

Activision Blizzard’s decision to acquire Maltese mobile developer King in February 2017 for $ 5.9 billion, for some time, topped the list of the most expensive game developer acquisitions of all time. King is best known for his world-beating puzzle game candy Crush Saga. His first major game with Activision-Blizzard IP, Crash Bandicoot: on the run! released on Android and iOS in 2021. King’s gaming hallmark is addictive puzzle solving with lots of on-screen juice, combined with aggressive monetization. candy CrushS’s popularity continues to this day, even though even its most dedicated players are starting to feel pretty shabby.

3. Microsoft acquires ZeniMax Media: $ 8.1 billion

One of the more recent purchases on this list, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media, which included Bethesda and all of its associated studios, for $ 8.1 billion in 2021. Bethesda is home to many valuable brands, characters, and IPs that are said to have been attractive to Microsoft. To bring Fall, Old scrolls, Loss, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and the next one Starfield under the Xbox umbrella is a massive victory for Microsoft, which has struggled to find platform exclusives and is now looking to fulfill its popular Game Pass service. Game Pass is a hungry beast, and we expect Microsoft to reappear in our lists of most expensive video game developer acquisitions in the future.

2. Tencent acquires Supercell: $ 8.6 billion

Chinese mega-publisher Tencent acquired mobile developer Supercell for $ 8.6 billion in 2016. Supercell is best known for creating the popular mobile game. Clash of the clans and its fallout Clash Royale. The two titles and Clash RoyaleThe vibrant eSports scene in, remains immensely popular to this day. This one-time purchase reigned supreme as the most expensive acquisition in video game history for five long years. The record remained unchallenged until it was usurped on January 10, 2021 by:

1. Take-Two Interactive acquires Zynga: $ 12.7 billion

Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games, acquired mobile game developer Zynga for $ 12.7 billion. Zynga has been around for many years, finding early success with social games on Facebook like Farm Town. It would be more successful after the switch to mobile platforms, with games like Words with friends, CSR Racing, and Draw something. He spun the With friends vertical in one of its most popular brands. Boggle with friends, chess with friends, hang out with friends, and Corresponding to With friends all appear in the same series. In 2012, it struck a deal with Hasbro to create board game versions of its most popular mobile titles. Take-Two clearly enjoys Zynga’s game library, and we’re watching with interest to see exactly how it will leverage its massive new mobile powerhouse.


So, have you spotted the trend? That’s right: four of the five most expensive acquisitions in video game history were from developers and publishers specializing in mobile games. This clearly explains why so many games, even in the AAA space, are embracing mobile monetization models. Mobile games have long tails, keep players captive, and remain popular long after release – design facets that have found their way into more traditional blockbuster games. This influence has had a disproportionate effect on the industry, with even the biggest AAA titles now adopting aggressive monetization practices similar to those seen in the mobile space. Who better to help design these changes than the teams and studios that know the most? Cynical? May be. Bad for gamers? Questionable. Smart business? Absoutely.

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