Last November, Activision Blizzard — the publisher behind some of gaming’s biggest brands, like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — announced that it was getting into mobile gaming in a big way by acquiring Candy Crush maker King Digital Entertainment for a whopping $5.9 billion. Today the deal is officially complete. For Activision, the deal gives the company a huge head start in the world of mobile gaming, an area that the publisher had previously largely avoided. "We now reach over 500 million users across almost every country," Activision CEO Bobby Kotick claims, "making us the largest game network in the world." King says that, as of the fourth quarter of 2015, it has 310 million unique users a month, buoyed primarily by Candy Crush Saga and its follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga.
The King acquisition is far from the first major deal Activision has made. In 2008 the publisher merged with Blizzard, the company behind franchises like Warcraft and Starcraft, to create the behemoth Activision Blizzard. Since then, the company has continued to expand in multiple directions. In 2014, Activision entered into a 10-year contract worth a reported $500 million with Halo creator Bungie to create the shooter-MMO hybrid Destiny, the sequel to which is coming out next year. More recently, Activision launched its own film and TV studio to help turn its gaming brands into multimedia properties. It also launched its own e-sports division, which included acquiring pioneering e-sports group MLG. At the time Kotick said that the company wanted "to create the ESPN of e-sports."