Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Joan Cros/Getty Images)
Big tech is joining venture capital in a land rush for companies targeting the metaverse despite few real-world examples of the tech world's latest buzzword in action.
- Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash, a roughly 45% premium on the video game giant's pre-announcement share price. "Gaming … will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Microsoft CEO and chairman Satya Nadella said in a statement.
- Gaming startups that aspire to build the metaverse—a loosely defined concept that describes virtual worlds—have seen their valuations soar. This week, blockchain game company Animoca Brands raised $358.9 million at a more than $5 billion valuation led by Liberty City Ventures. Other billion-dollar gaming startups with metaverse ambitions include Sorare, Dapper Labs and Axie Infinity.
- The Activision acquisition could help to justify high price tags for gaming startups like Animoca, but it faces an uphill battle. This week, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department launched an effort to take a tougher stance on large mergers. California regulators are also suing Activision over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.