Microsoft-Activision deal: Key things to know

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SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled its big-ticket plans to buy US video game powerhouse Activision Blizzard, a record-smashing acquisition in the gaming sector.

The merger, which is expected to be finalized next year, would beef up Microsoft’s muscle in the booming game market while playing to its strengths in software and cloud computing.

Merging with Activision will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, according to analysts.

China-based Tencent is a huge player in the Asia market and has been investing in game studios outside its home country.

Tencent owns Riot Games, maker of battle royale hit “League of Legends,” and has stakes in French game star Ubisoft as well as Activision itself.

Japanese consumer electronics colossus Sony has been increasingly relying on its PlayStation consoles and games for revenue — as Sony studios crank out titles to play on its hardware.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been adding to its stable of game studios as it invests in Xbox consoles as well as the trend of games being streamed directly from the cloud.

“To borrow from the company’s own jargon, Microsoft’s goal is to enable people to play games anytime, anywhere and with anyone,” Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note to investors.

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