Take-Two Interactive just announced its intent to buy FarmVille developer Zynga for $12.7 billion in what could be the biggest acquisition in video game history. It's an absolutely massive deal; to put it in perspective, the acquisition would be $5 billion more than Microsoft's $7.5 billion purchase of the parent company of Skyrim maker Bethesda Softworks. You could throw in the money Disney paid for Lucasfilm and still have cash left over.
So what is Take-Two getting for its money? Yes, big Zynga games like FarmVille, Words With Friends, and High Heels! will join Take-Two's own roster of franchises that includes Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Civilization. But perhaps more importantly, Take-Two will now be able to use Zynga's expertise building hugely popular free-to-play mobile titles so it can make new hit games based on its own properties. In fact, Zynga will be the new brand for Take Two's mobile efforts, and current Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau will lead that organization, indicating the potential direction of Take Two's mobile future.
Developers across the industry have been bringing big franchises to mobile and earning a lot of money doing so. PUBG Mobile was the top-grossing mobile game worldwide in November 2021, earning "close to" $254 million, according to Sensor Tower. League of Legends: Wild Rift, the mobile-optimized version of the hit PC MOBA, was in the top ten for App Store revenue that same month. Pokémon Go brought in more than $5 billion in revenue as of its five-year birthday in July, Sensor Tower reported. The Tencent-owned studio that makes Call of Duty: Mobile reportedly earned $10 billion in 2020.