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PC And Mobile Drove Microsoft's Interest In Activision Blizzard Says Xbox Boss

Also Talks NFTs in interview

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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In an interview with Bloomberg, Xbox boss Phil Spencer talks about what drove Microsoft, at least initially, towards purchasing Activision Blizzard. He also speaks about NFTs and their implementation in gaming.

The interview touches on multiple subjects, but understandably the subject of Microsoft's looming massive $68.7 billion dollar acquisition obviously came up. Talking about the acquisition, Spencer talked a bit about why Microsoft was event attracted to the purchase in the first place. 

Mobile gaming and PC.

Mobile gaming, for all its issues, is the largest segment of gaming in the world, and it's really not even close. Spencer states that this was a major driver towards the initial internal talks about nabbing Activision Blizzard, and the company's work on PC was right there as well.

"We don't have a lot of creative capability that has built hit mobile games. We really started the discussions, internally at least, on Activision Blizzard, on the capability they had on mobile, and then PC with Blizzard."

It makes sense too, with Activision Blizzard's King division, which creates and operates one of the most profitable mobile games on the market: Candy Crush Saga. Activision Blizzard is also working on a mobile Warcraft title (as well as recently canceled a mobile Warcraft MMO), recently released (and incredibly profitable) Diablo Immortal, and operates other mobile versions of its popular games, such as Call of Duty.

Spencer was also asked about the latest trend in gaming: NFTs. Minecraft, a Microsoft title, has sworn off NFTs of all kinds, something which Spencer agrees with. He also talks about play-to-earn and how, while it's become a buzzword nowadays as NFTs and blockchain titles are cropping up on the market, it's not inherently new to gaming.

Using gold farmers as an example, Spencer points out that players have been exchanging real money for digital goods for a while, with those gold farmers akin to players in a P2E environment. However, he draws a distinction in the fact that games are starting to "build that into the economy of the game itself."

"To be fair for us, in the games industry, this has existed for years and years. There have been gold farmers--people who literally just spend their time doing some menial task in a game to accrue some currency that they can then sell to some other rich player for real money, so that person doesn't have to spend their time," he said. "But now you find games that are starting to build that into the economy of the game itself."

However, he does go on to not write NFTs off, stating that while he wants to avoid anything "exploitative," he finds the technology and possible implementation to be "interesting."

"We made some comments in Minecraft about how we view NFTs in this space because we saw people doing things that we thought were exploitative in our product. We don't want that. I think sometimes it's hammer looking for a nail when these technologies come up. But the actual human use or player use in our case, I think there could be some interesting things."

You can check out the full interview in the YouTube embed below.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore