With Activision, Microsoft Bets on the Future

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Microsoft is making a big bet on video games, and even if you’re like me and don’t really play it, it’s worth noting.

Microsoft said Tuesday it would buy Activision Blizzard, which makes video games, including Candy Crush and Call of Duty. Microsoft will pay about $ 70 billion for the game maker, even for such a rich company. Activision slots in other Microsoft video game businesses, including the Xbox game console and video game makers like Halo and Minecraft.

But Microsoft’s acquisition also shows that video games are no longer just entertainment. They have become the weapon that today’s technology titans try to shape our future in the direction of their choice.

I’m talking about “metavars”, a terrible shorthand that technologists have adopted for a broader vision of the future of the Internet that will further blur the lines between online life and real life and between people and computers.

Metavers are difficult to define. (We might call it the next phase of the Internet, but I think it’s very boring.) Tech companies now believe that video games are a gateway to a fast-paced future of the more immersive Internet, and they decide That’s what it is. Will look like, and who will be the winner and the loser.

The desire to shape the future of the Internet is one reason why Facebook has changed its name to Meta and focused heavily on its Oculus virtual reality goggles and virtual business meetings such as video-games. That’s one of the reasons Apple Face is designing computers, and why Amazon and Google have used their cloud-computing services to make it easier for people to stream sophisticated video games on the Internet.

Video games have long been a glimpse into what is possible. Even before we camped on Facebook and YouTube, game designers created a world that didn’t exist but seemed real. Video games were one of the first consumer products to prove that people would pay for virtual goods – for example, weapons, clothing or tractors at Farmville. Gamers already live in metavars, and tech companies essentially want to bring that fantasy to every aspect of life, including friendship, shopping, and live theater.

I don’t know if any of these big tech companies know exactly what the immersive internet looks like. I don’t even know if we want to determine the future of Mark Zuckerberg or Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, virtual human interactions.

But the lack of money in video games and other immersive technologies shows that the tech titans are excited about the future and fear they will miss it.

Side note: There is another, less sexy explanation for the acquisition of Microsoft Activation. This happens when there is an opportunity for crisis and there is money which makes no sense.

Activation would not have been sold without claims of sexual misconduct and other misconduct with employees in the workplace that have hurt the company in the past year. A significant number of its employees, plus regulators and some of the company’s investors, have said that activation allows problems to grow longer. Those claims have hit its share price, making it a less expensive purchase for Microsoft than a year ago.

Money doesn’t make sense – Microsoft and most other tech giants have cash and stock prices in the stratum and they can borrow money practically for free. It also makes eye-catching business acquisitions like Activision less nutritious than it seemed a few years ago. (Microsoft’s share price fell slightly on Tuesday morning, a sign that investors are questioning the wisdom of the purchase or the high price.)

Even the absurd notions of metavars, video games today are a cultural force and a huge business. Video games generate far more revenue than the global movie industry, and games are one of the most popular and exciting smartphone apps in the world.

The purchase of Microsoft Activation is a boon for the present and the future.


  • Amazon wants more electric delivery vans. And he wants them now. My colleagues Karen Weiss and Neil Boudett explain why most young electric vehicle manufacturers can’t meet Amazon’s gluttony needs.

  • Local government application challenging Uber: More residents of Rio de Janeiro are leaving Uber rides for traditional taxis, writes tech news publication Rest of the World. The local government has invested in developing a taxi dispatch app, and authorities have kept cab prices largely the same while Uber’s fares have risen due to high fuel prices and a shortage of drivers.

  • The “squid game” was not an accident. Bloomberg News explores Netflix’s strategy to broadcast more South Korean programming, including last year’s hit “Squid Game” series. Netflix is ​​picking up entertainment ideas that were highly unsuitable for the Korean TV industry, and is winning fans around the world. (Subscription may be required.)

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