微软收购动视暴雪:未来元宇宙主导权之战

【腾讯云】多款云产品1折起,买云服务器送免费机器,最长免费续3个月
今年1月,当微软宣布以687亿美元收购电子游戏巨头动视暴雪时,科技和游戏行业出现了一些令人费解的变化。微软首席执行官萨蒂亚·纳德拉(Satya Nadella)表示,收购动视暴雪是为了推进微软的元宇宙战略,然而动视暴雪最出名的却是《使命召唤》、《魔兽世界》和《糖果粉碎传奇》等传统游戏,而不是虚拟现实、增强现实和其他与元宇宙相关的技术。

微软收购动视暴雪:未来元宇宙主导权之战

然而仔细看来,微软目前更有可能成为元宇宙和游戏领域的领先者。Bernstein分析师马克·莫得勒(Mark Moerdler)表示:“微软在元宇宙领域处于非常有利的位置。但我不认为,这笔收购纯粹是由元宇宙战略驱动的,微软还在以更广泛的方式寻求在游戏行业的深度和广度。”

莫得勒原本预计,微软可能会收购一些规模较小的游戏工作室,但最终决定“进行一次大的收购,而不是一堆小型收购”。收购动视暴雪是纳德拉上任以来微软最大的一笔收购。

这笔交易还需要获得公司股东,以及美国和其他国家和地区监管部门的批准。预计交易要到2023年6月才能完成。

微软在收购的消息中有意突出元宇宙的概念。而实际上,从现在到交易完成,微软正在讨论“双轨模式”。在发送给微软约18.1万名员工关于这笔收购的电子邮件中,纳德拉表示:“从微软成立之初开始,游戏就一直是微软的关键。今天,游戏是规模最大、发展最快的娱乐形式。随着数字世界和现实世界的融合,游戏将在元宇宙平台的发展中发挥关键作用。”

毫无疑问,游戏是个有吸引力、有利可图的行业。根据市场研究公司Newzoo的数据,2021年全球游戏市场的营收为1803亿美元,而到2024年还将进一步增长至2188亿美元。eMarketer估计,去年全球有29.6亿人玩过数字游戏,无论是通过主机、电脑还是移动设备。这一数字到2022年将达到30.9亿人,占地球人口的约1/3。

动视暴雪和元宇宙

微软于2001年首次涉足电子游戏行业,当时该公司发布了Xbox游戏机。到目前为止,Xbox已经推出了四代,在微软的第三财季销售额上升了14%。由菲尔·斯宾塞(Phil Spencer)执掌的微软游戏部门由23个游戏设计和软件工作室,以及数百款游戏组成。该部门推出的Game Pass包月服务已经吸引了超过2500万用户,同时还有近1000万人使用微软的Xbox云游戏服务。

尽管动视暴雪并不被认为是元宇宙行业的主要玩家,但关于元宇宙是什么的定义工作仍在进行中,而动视暴雪的游戏产品也能很好地说明,该公司将如何参与元宇宙。2004年,暴雪发布了《魔兽世界》。当时暴雪还是一家独立游戏工作室,直到2008年才与动视合并。

电竞基础设施平台Vindex的首席执行官迈克·赛普索(Mike Sepso)曾在动视和暴雪合并之后担任该公司高管。关于《魔兽世界》,他表示:“这就是个虚拟世界,你的虚拟人可以与朋友一同行走,建立部落,一起进行战斗。”

赛普索也指出了其他几款融入元宇宙元素的游戏,包括《罗布乐思》、《堡垒之夜》、《第二人生》以及微软的《我的世界》。在这些平台上,玩家可以在许许多多游戏之间传送,建立虚拟的社交空间,甚至参加音乐会,还可以购买虚拟物品以增强体验。这类游戏大多需要配备虚拟现实头显和游戏主机。这对微软来说有利,因为该公司已经提供Hololens和Xbox等硬件产品。

这些游戏中的虚拟世界可能还达不到元宇宙支持者预测的水平。在他们看来,元宇宙中的用户可以通过混合现实技术,以沉浸式的方式开会、看病、度假,以及从事各类商务活动。微软已经凭借软件、云计算、游戏和虚拟技术处于有利的地位,而动视暴雪游戏能力的加入将进一步提升微软在这方面的前景。

在交易宣布的一周前,斯宾塞在接受采访时表示:“我完全相信,元宇宙是游戏业务的延伸。”例如,微软的游戏开发者正在构想虚拟的工作环境,利用他们在电子游戏领域积累的经验推动人们在线上聚集在一起,合作完成任务。

然而无论如何,元宇宙将会由“Z世代”及他们的下一代去普及。他们完全在数字世界中长大,尤其熟悉游戏。根据RazorFish和Vice媒体集团近期对Z世代游戏玩家进行的一项研究,他们在元宇宙中与朋友一起度过的时间是现实生活中的两倍。超过一半的人表示,他们希望体验如何在元宇宙中赚钱。33%的人希望获得职业发展体验。未来5年,他们娱乐休闲预算的20%将专门用于游戏中的购物。

科技股的回调

尽管美股科技股正在经历回调,但在发布第三财季财报之后,微软仍是表现最强劲的科技公司之一。市场对微软云计算服务和软件能力的强劲需求是该公司的实力所在,而这两项也是元宇宙和游戏业务的核心组成部分。

动视暴雪第一季度业绩表现平平,主要原因是市场对最新一代《使命召唤》的需求疲软。不过,新进入的投资者、沃伦·巴菲特(Warren Buffett)在近期的伯克希尔哈撒韦公司股东大会上表示,他一直在增持动视暴雪的股份。这是一种并购套利的做法,因为他相信微软收购动视暴雪的交易将会成功完成。目前,伯克希尔哈撒韦持有动视暴雪的约9.5%股份。

随着科技行业的股价下跌,目前动视暴雪的股价已经比微软给出的每股95美元的报价低了20%。

MoffettNathanson分析师克莱·格里芬(Clay Griffin)表示,《使命召唤》的销售数据低于预期不利于动视暴雪的基本面故事。如果交易失败,动视暴雪被迫保持独立,该公司股票的价格可能会跌至60多美元。不过他也认为,这样的情况不太可能发生。

巴菲特说:“有时,我会看到交易套利的机会并且去执行。有时,看起来机会对我们有利,但最后我们会在那家公司赔钱,损失相当大的一笔钱。这取决于交易失败后会发生什么。”

微软和动视暴雪拒绝对此置评。

未来的主导权

在此期间,动视暴雪现任首席执行官鲍比·科迪克(Bobby Kotick)的命运还不确定。针对动视暴雪在应对性别歧视和性骚扰方面的做法,美国证券交易委员会(SEC)和美国司法部去年发起了两项独立调查,而科迪克也成为了被调查的一部分。去年11月有媒体报道称,科迪克对于性骚扰举报的处理方式不当。

在交易宣布前,动视暴雪的这方面问题也引起了斯宾塞的关注。据媒体报道,去年11月,随着相关新闻越来越多,斯宾塞告诉员工,他对动视暴雪发生的可怕事件和做法感到“深深的不安和困扰”,同时微软“正在评估与动视暴雪关系的方方面面,并进行积极的调整”。

但事实上,大约就在同一时间,斯宾塞和微软管理层开始讨论与动视的收购交易。

今年1月,斯宾塞在交易宣布后的分析师电话会议上表示:“当这笔交易完成时,按收入计算,微软将成为全球第三大游戏公司,仅次于腾讯和索尼。”当天他还在官方博客中表示:“在此之前,动视暴雪和微软游戏将继续分别独立经营。在交易完成后,动视暴雪的业务将汇报给我。”

莫得勒认为:“在大多数收购中,高级管理层都会离职。在这笔交易中,这种情况的可能性更大。”

动视暴雪拥有庞大的游戏库,月活跃玩家数接近4亿,并且很多人都已经在虚拟世界中花钱。因此,外界对于这笔收购的逻辑并没有什么疑问,也没有人会怀疑斯宾塞的雄心壮志。

赛普索说:“这笔交易为微软解决了几方面问题。首先,这将在短期内为Game Pass业务增加大量的优质游戏和玩家基础。而从长远来看,这些游戏可以扩展到元宇宙。在谁将主导元宇宙这个问题上,这将让微软处于令人羡慕的地位。”

On closer inspection, however, Microsoft is now more likely to become a leader in meta-universe and gaming. Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Bernstein, said: "Microsoft is in a very good position in meta-universe. But I don't think this acquisition is purely driven by meta-cosmic strategy, and Microsoft is also seeking depth and breadth in the gaming industry in a broader way. "

Modeler had expected that Microsoft might buy some smaller game studios, but eventually decided to "make a big acquisition, not a bunch of small acquisitions." The acquisition of Activision Blizzard is Microsoft's biggest acquisition since Nadella took office.

The deal also requires approval from the company's shareholders, as well as regulators in the United States and other countries and regions. The deal is not expected to be completed until June 2023.

Microsoft intended to highlight the concept of meta-universe in the news of the acquisition. In fact, Microsoft is talking about a "two-track model" between now and the completion of the deal. In an email to about 181000 Microsoft employees about the acquisition, Nadella said: "Games have been the key to Microsoft since its inception. Today, games are the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. With the integration of the digital world and the real world, games will play a key role in the development of the meta-universe platform. "

There is no doubt that gaming is an attractive and profitable industry. According to market research firm Newzoo, the global gaming market has revenue of $180.3 billion in 2021 and will grow to $218.8 billion by 2024. EMarketer estimates that 2.96 billion people around the world played digital games last year, whether through mainframes, computers or mobile devices. This number will reach 3.09 billion by 2022, accounting for about 1 per cent of the earth's population.

Activision Blizzard and Metasmology

Microsoft first set foot in the video game industry in 2001, when it launched the Xbox game console. So far, Xbox has been launched for four generations, and sales at Microsoft are up 14% in the third quarter. Microsoft's games division, headed by Phil Spencer, consists of 23 game design and software studios and hundreds of games. The department's Game Pass monthly service has attracted more than 25 million users, while nearly 10 million people use Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming service.

Although Activision Blizzard is not considered a major player in the meta-universe industry, work on defining what a meta-universe is is still under way, and Activision Blizzard's game products are a good illustration of how the company will participate in meta-universe. In 2004, Blizzard released World of Warcraft. Blizzard was an independent game studio at the time and did not merge with Activision until 2008.

Mike Sepso, chief executive of e-sports 's infrastructure platform Vindex, was a former executive of Activision and Blizzard after the merger. On World of Warcraft, he said: "this is a virtual world where your virtual human can walk with friends, build tribes and fight together."

Sepso also pointed out several other games that incorporate meta-cosmic elements, including Robles, Fortnite, second Life and Microsoft's my World. On these platforms, players can transfer between many games, create virtual social spaces, even attend concerts, and buy virtual items to enhance the experience. Most of these games need to be equipped with virtual reality headsets and game consoles. This is good for Microsoft, which already offers hardware products such as Hololens and Xbox.

The virtual worlds in these games may not reach the level predicted by proponents of meta-universe. In their view, users in meta-universe can hold meetings, see a doctor, go on vacation, and engage in all kinds of business activities in an immersive manner by mixing real-world technology. Microsoft is already in a strong position with software, cloud computing, gaming and virtual technology, and Activision Blizzard's gaming capabilities will further enhance Microsoft's prospects in this area.

In an interview a week before the deal was announced, Spencer said: "I am fully convinced that meta-universe is an extension of the gaming business." For example, Microsoft game developers are conceiving a virtual work environment, using their experience in video games to drive people to gather online and collaborate to complete tasks.

However, in any case, the meta-universe will be popularized by Generation Z and their next generation. They grew up completely in the digital world and are especially familiar with games. According to a recent study of Generation Z gamers by RazorFish and Vice Media Group, they spend twice as much time with their friends in meta-universe as they do in real life. More than half said they wanted to experience how to make money in meta-universe. 33% of people want a career development experience. Over the next five years, 20% of their entertainment and leisure budget will be devoted to in-game shopping.

The pullback of technology stocks

While US tech stocks are experiencing a pullback, Microsoft remains one of the strongest technology companies after reporting third-quarter results. The strong demand for Microsoft's cloud computing services and software capabilities is the company's strength, which are also core components of meta-universe and gaming businesses.

Activision Blizzard's first-quarter results were flat, mainly due to weak demand for the latest generation of "call of Duty". However, new investor Warren Buffett (Warren Buffett) said at the recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting that he had been increasing his stake in Activision Blizzard. This is an M & An arbitrage because he believes that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be successfully completed. Berkshire Hathaway currently owns about 9.5% of Activision Blizzard.

With the share price of the technology industry falling, Activision Blizzard's share price is now 20% lower than Microsoft's offer of $95 a share.

Clay Griffin, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, said call of Duty's sales figures were lower than expected and went against Activision Blizzard's fundamental story. If the deal fails and Activision Blizzard is forced to remain independent, the price of the company's shares could fall to more than $60. However, he also believes that such a situation is unlikely to happen.

Buffett said: "sometimes, I will see the opportunity to trade arbitrage and implement it." Sometimes, it seems that the opportunity is good for us, but in the end we will lose money in that company and lose a considerable amount of money. It depends on what happens if the deal fails. "

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard declined to comment.

The dominance of the future

In the meantime, the fate of Activision Blizzard's current CEO Bobby Bobby Kotick is uncertain. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice launched two independent investigations into Activision Blizzard's practices in dealing with gender discrimination and sexual harassment, and Codick was part of the investigation. Last November, there were media reports that Kodick had handled sexual harassment reports improperly.

This aspect of Activision Blizzard also attracted Spencer's attention before the deal was announced. According to media reports, in November last year, with more and more relevant news, Spencer told employees that he was "deeply disturbed and troubled" by the terrible events and practices of Activision Blizzard. At the same time, Microsoft is "evaluating all aspects of its relationship with Activision Blizzard and making positive adjustments."

But in fact, at about the same time, Spencer and Microsoft management began to discuss the acquisition deal with Activision.

"when the deal is completed, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, after Tencent and Sony," Spencer said in a conference call with analysts after the deal was announced in January. " On the same day, he also said in his official blog: "until then, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Games will continue to operate independently." Activision Blizzard's business will be reported to me after the transaction is completed. "

"in most acquisitions, senior management leaves," says Modeler. In this deal, this is more likely. "

Activision Blizzard has a huge game library, with nearly 400 million monthly active users, and many have already spent money in the virtual world. As a result, there is no doubt about the logic of the acquisition, and no one doubts Spencer's ambitions.

"this deal solves several problems for Microsoft," Sepso said. First of all, this will add a large number of quality games and player base to the Game Pass business in the short term. In the long run, these games can be extended to meta-universe. This will put Microsoft in an enviable position on the question of who will dominate the meta-universe. "

【腾讯云】多款云产品1折起,买云服务器送免费机器,最长免费续3个月
版权声明:新浪科技 发表于 2022-05-09 15:15。
转载请注明:微软收购动视暴雪:未来元宇宙主导权之战 | ColaBug

相关文章

colabug网址导航在线提交网站

暂无评论

-游客点评-
等待评论...