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Microsoft prepares its investments in video games and the metaverse

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We feel very well placed to surf what is essentially, I think, the next wave of the internet.said Tuesday Satya Nadella, the boss of Microsoft, during a conference on the quarterly results of the group.

Last week, the giant announced its plan to acquire Activision-Blizzard studios (Call of Duty, candy Crushetc.) with, in sight, the metaverse, these parallel universes where human, augmented and virtual realities must merge.

The US$69 billion (C$86.4 billion) transaction would be the largest M&A deal of all time in the video game industry.

Microsoft, which holds the second largest market capitalization in the world, seems to have the means of its ambitions.

A lucrative sector

From October to December, it made US$51.7 billion (C$65.1 billion) in revenue and posted US$18.8 billion (C$23.3 billion) in profit. net – results above average analyst forecasts.

Azure, its cloud computing platform (clouds), saw its revenues jump 46% in one year. They had already increased by half in the previous quarter.

In contrast, Xbox recorded a lower increase in revenue, at 10%.

The game console is the second most used in the world, behind Sony’s PlayStation, which held 64.5% of the market share worldwide in 2021, according to the analysis site Statista.

The bets we’ve made on content, gaming communities, and cloud computing in recent years are paying off. »

A quote from Satya Nadella

We achieved record user numbers and revenue in the past quarterhe added.

In particular, he indicated that 18 million people had played Forza Horizon 5 (car racing game) and more than 20 million to Halo Infinite (shooter), latest addition to the series of video games launched 20 years ago and which largely contributed to the success of Xbox.

In an outdoor environment, the character is holding a weapon and standing upright.

Players have been able to reconnect with Microsoft’s hit Halo series in recent months.

Photo: Microsoft

With our planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, we’re investing to make it easier for people to play great games where they want, when they want, and how they want.added the boss.

His group hopes to integrate Activision titles into its Xbox Game Pass monthly subscription service. The operation would make Microsoft the third group in the video game industry in terms of turnover, behind the Chinese Tencent and the Japanese Sony.

Strong pillars for the metaverse

At the end of October, Microsoft also announced the acquisition of Two Hat, a content moderation company, which was already involved in removing problematic content from Xbox.

However, video games are considered the precursors of the metaverse. The “game” aspect is only one of the components of the platform, as is the case for Roblox Where Minecraft (which belongs to Microsoft), which users, especially teenagers, also use simply to find themselves.

An aerial view of Quebec in 1892 in a video game.

Microsoft’s “Minecraft” game is already one of the pioneers of the metaverse.

Photo: Screenshot / The Rendez-vous d’histoire de Québec

Minecraft“,”text”:”Players are already investing in their avatars and building worlds in Minecraft”}}”>Players are already investing in their avatars and building worlds in Minecraftnoted Satya Nadella.

It also counts on activities more traditional of the group, both to generate income and to create bridges between new immersive universes.

During the past quarter, the Office office suite and associated data storage and processing services improved their sales by 14% on the business side and 15% on the personal side. As for LinkedIn, its professional social network, it grew by 37%.

On Teams, there will be meetings through Meshthe augmented or virtual reality collaboration platform, mentioned the manager. These meetings will start on screens, computers or mobile phones, and will become more and more immersive with the appropriate equipment.

Several analysts, however, express doubts about the ability of the Redmond group to move forward so quickly, first because the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard will take time, then because the exit from the pandemic could result in a drop in demand and therefore revenue.

We have seen many stars [techno] from the start of COVID-19 becoming fallen angelsunderlined Scott Kessler, an expert from the firm Third Bridge, uncertain that the growth of digital linked to health restriction measures is sustainable.

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