Fear of Missing Out is set to be the latest video-game sensation. Microsoft's (MSFT.O) $69 billion agreement to buy Activision (ATVI.O) threatens to upend the industry. Sony (6758.T) and Nintendo (7974.T), the respective makers of the PlayStation and Switch consoles, will be under pressure to consider bolder M&A strategies.
The race to build immersive virtual worlds has sparked a fresh rush to acquire intellectual property. Video-games are a fierce battleground. Just days before Microsoft's record plan to take over the "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush" owner, Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO.O) unveiled a $13 billion acquisition of Zynga . Video-game deal volume nearly tripled last year to $85 billion, according to Drake Star Partners.
All eyes are turning to Japan, one of the industry’s power hubs. Nintendo, the $63 billion creator of Super Mario, is sitting on more than $9 billion of cash but prefers to build rather than buy. The company took over
one developer last year for an undisclosed sum, its first major acquisition since 2007. Larger rival Sony has been busier, with roughly half a dozen purchases in 2021; all of them, however, were small and niche gaming studios.
- Japan's Sony is forecast to report revenue of 2.9 trillion yen ($25 billion) in the three months to December, an increase of 6.6% from a year earlier, according to an average analyst estimate compiled by Refinitiv.
- Sony is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Feb. 2 and Nintendo plans to do the same on Feb. 3.
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