- Cristina J. Orgaz @cjorgaz
- BBC News World
It’s a long-term fight and no one wants to be left behind. Some already say that the metaverse is the future of the internet. Others believe that there is still much to define.
Whether it becomes a full reality in a few years remains to be seen. But the bet of the big technology companies for this parallel digital universe is generating large trading operations on Wall Street.
The last to jump into the race has been Microsoft, which announced this week a millionaire agreement to take over Activision Blizzard, one of the main video game companies of the world.
Among its most popular titles are Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Warcraft o Overwatch.
Microsoft will disburse US$70,000 million approximately the largest acquisition in its history, which at the same time is also the largest ever carried out in the video game industry.
Short term, the Xbox video game platform could incorporate some of the most popular titles worldwide and would add a huge number of players.
Activision has nearly 400 million active users monthly in 190 countries and franchises valued in billions of dollars.
In the battle to attract more players to their platforms, these exclusive titles and experiences are crucial.
But in the long run, as Microsoft acknowledged, puts it in a good position to become one of the companies that leads the development of the metaverse and attract the business that can be generated there.
“This acquisition will accelerate the growth of Microsoft’s gaming business and provide building blocks for the metaverse,” the US company said in its statement.
Bloomberg Intelligence calcula que the market opportunity for the metaverse may reach $800 billion by 2024, hence no one wants to give up their piece of the pie.
“It’s a strategic operation. It reflects the positioning that the big companies are taking regarding the metaverse”, Víctor Alvargonzález, from Nextep, an independent financial advisory service, explains to BBC Mundo.
“Those who create the best virtual spaces will be the winners and to date those who are experts in creating these digital worlds are the video game companies,” he adds.
In this sense, the analyst estimates that in the coming months we will see more operations of this type, in which the big technology companies are gradually buying “the partners of the metaverse”, as Alvargonzález says.
That is, small companies specializing in one of the technologies needed to build virtual spaces.
From cloud computing to graphics, microchips or reality glasses augmented with which this parallel universe will be accessed.
Ben Laidler, Global Markets Strategist at eToro, thinks exactly the same.
“Microsoft’s $68.7 billion offer for video game developer Activision Blizzard is a move that change the rules of the game. Speed up the race to the metaverse and will drive more acquisitions in the gaming sector,” says the strategist.
Furthermore, the operation shows the enormous financial capacity of large technology companies which could allow them to close more such deals.
“The offering represents a strong validation and acceleration of the new world of virtual reality. Major investments are occurring in it from the biggest names in technology.”
The investment team of the manager Value Partners Group stated that “although the metaverse is in its early stages of development, it has become a hot topic in the last year.”
And remember that top tech leaders like Meta (former Facebook), Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba y Tencent They have already announced various investments in this field.
It is planned that avatar devices VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are the main entrances to the metaverse.
“As technology leaders get more involved in the platform, there will be an increase in demand for related hardware upgrades, which will drive sales and advancement of virtual reality and augmented reality equipment“.
“Surely the metaverse will become one of the most important investment themes in 2022“, adds the Value Partners Group team.
This deal comes a year after Microsoft purchased another influential game company, Bethesda, for US$7.5 billion.
In fact, In the last two decades, Microsoft has made acquisitions in various fields ranging from mobile telephony (Nokia) to software development platforms (GitHub) and social networks (LinkedIn).
The deal is expected to be completed during fiscal year 2023, as the transaction is pending approval by the relevant legal bodies, Microsoft said in its press release.
Activision Blizzard’s problems
Activision Blizzard has spent the last few months dealing with a handful of lawsuits and claims about their supposedly toxic work environment.
In September, the gaming giant announced that it had reached an $18 million settlement agreement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The watchdog sued the company after a three-year investigation into the culture of your workplace.
However, the EEOC’s case is just one of several.
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC Mundo. Download our app and activate them so you don’t miss our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.