Washington Post

Microsoft bought Activision because gaming is the new social media

If the 2010s were the decade of social media in the tech industry, there's reason to think the 2020s are the gaming decade.

Worldwide, nearly 400 million people play Activision Blizzard games each month. That's more active users than Twitter, and comparable to the 450 million users that WhatsApp had when Facebook acquired it for $19 billion in 2016. Foto: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

On Tuesday, Microsoft said it plans to buy the gaming giant Activision Blizzard - maker of the Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush franchises, to name a few - for some $69 billion. If it survives antitrust scrutiny, the deal will make Microsoft, which already owns Xbox, Minecraft, and Halo, a titan of the gaming world. And that, in turn, could give it a big role in shaping not just how we work and play, but how we interact online.

Games have been a big industry for a long time, from Nintendo and PC gaming in the 1990s to PlayStation and Xbox in the 2000s to the rise of mobile gaming in the 2010s. But in recent years, leaps in technology and innovations in gameplay have made them ubiquitous, from addictive smartphone time-killers to deeply immersive, console-based worlds that let millions of players interact in real time. And then came the pandemic, which supercharged the popularity of games even as they pushed more of our work and social lives into cyberspace...

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