Consolidating industries dating a parker fly classic
"My hypothesis is that we're currently in a 'breathing in' phase of a decades-long cycle for the industry.After over ten years of frenetic activity and innovation at all levels of the industry...things are in an unusually settled place right now" The reason the Vivendi / Ubisoft drama is of interest, I'd argue, is because it's not happening in isolation.It's not the usual background noise of companies being acquired for their technology, or their personnel, or their IP, but a set of much bigger acquisitions and mergers aimed at building up portfolios not of games but of companies, at changing the underlying competitive landscape of the games industry as a whole.My hypothesis is that we're currently in a "breathing in" phase of a decades-long cycle for the industry.Ten years ago, I was down on the idea of big external acquisitions of game publishers because, well, who knew what the game landscape was going to look like in five years?Now, the landscape is more settled; the risks of acquisition have cooled down to simply being the standard set of risks associated with buying a company in any settled industry, and giant corporations are very, very good at handling those risks.The interesting question in all of this is - why now?
The companies that were going to fail to adapt to technology and business model transitions have collapsed.
Hence we get the likes of Tencent, and Vivendi, and Softbank, looking at games in a way nobody really could ten years ago; as a segment to fill in their portfolios.
Until such time as a new shake-up appears on the horizon, large, traditionally conservative firms with major media portfolios will be eyeing up the games sector, especially in light of competitors making significant strategic moves.
Activision Blizzard is one of the most recognisable names in games in its own right, but its high-value acquisition of mobile giant King has been entirely transparent to that company's customers.
Facebook is perhaps the closest thing to a household name to have made a purchase in the gaming space of late, but it has also been careful to keep its brand at something of a remove from Oculus'.