Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of King Digital is worthy of discussion in regards to how they’ll blend their complementary brand strengths. Activision Blizzard has a strong player community and genre-defining content, while King Digital provides a wider audience through all-ages and bite-sized content. An important facet of this joining of brands is their respective user experience styles; actively engaging their audiences through quality content.
Defining Genre Experiences
While Activision Blizzard has a solid handle on community building through expansive multiplayer and online games such as Call of Duty and World of WarCraft, there’s more to their products than just playing with others. Most of their products have games within games. These non-required quests, challenges and mini games are opportunities for players to do more than just button mash to the next level.
Their games have “replayability”; there is more content than can be consumed in just following the primary missions or story lines. It’s encouraged to explore the worlds they’ve coded, seek out various achievements (challenges that provide a digital trophy for accomplishments).
The Activision Blizzard experience is about long-play engagement with others. Unlike Candy Crush, these games can take several hours to progress through campaigns, challenges, story arcs or quests. Their content provides a lasting experience for players, while allowing for on-the-go bursts of playing time. King Digital’s games are a more focused user experience, providing quick hit entertainment for the masses. A round of Candy Crush or similar game can take minutes, not hours. How many rounds and minutes users spend at any given time varies. As most of those games have infinite rounds (although not necessarily infinite lives/turns), the potential entertainment value is limitless.
Bite-Sized, On the Go Experiences
King Digital is responsible for the slightly addicting matching game Candy Crush. They’ve created other games like Pet Rescue, Diamond Digger, Farm Heroes, Papa Pear, Bubble Witch and Alpha Betty. These games don’t have the story or character depth when compared to Activision Blizzard’s offerings. There’s little of that needed when the game mechanics are simplified to matching, grouping and organizing.
They’ve been responsible for bringing casual gaming to the masses through Facebook and mobile devices. Their games help show that gaming isn’t just for “gamers” but for everyone. You don’t need to invest in gaming specific hardware or software, beyond the games themselves. They’re all-ages and more intuitive than role-playing, real-time strategy, or first person shooter games. King Digital has made a very quick impact on making “gaming” mainstream.
Will it Blend
Today’s games are becoming increasingly multifaceted, to accommodate the multiple playing styles, skills, and interests of gamers. With games like Witcher 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Battlefront, Grand Theft Auto: V and the Fable franchise, there are several integrated card, dice and board games within the overall games, providing an example of what Activision Blizzard could best take advantage of with its purchase of King Digital.
Leveraging King Digital’s focus on “creating moments of bite-size brilliance” and Activision Blizzard’s roster of “pure-play interactive” entertainment, there’s incredible potential for integrating more quick-play games and community building aspects in current and future long-play games. By utilizing the depth of user behavior data both companies have, there’s great potential for finding the right balance between accessible, engaging, and replayable content.
I’d love to see mini-games integrated into the lore-rich and character-strong games in development. It’d also be great to see it go the other direction, bringing more depth to the casual gaming with characters or story lines to progress through at your own pace. As an avid fan of Activision Blizzard’s products, and a previous player of Candy Crush, it’ll be fun to see just where this acquisition takes both companies.