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Can M&A be a positive force in the game industry? Devs aren't convinced

Devs weigh in on the potential impact of M&A activity.

Huge mergers and acquisitions, such as Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, dominated headlines in 2022, but it seems developers aren't convinced the onslaught of M&A activity will have a positive impact on the game industry at large.

As highlighted in the 2023 GDC State of the Industry survey, 44 percent of developers asked to weigh in on the potential impact of conglomeration said they believe the deluge of deals being struck by the likes of Microsoft, Embracer Group, Sony, and more will have a negative effect on the industry.

Notably, 32 percent said they were unsure how the landscape will look once the dust has settled, so it seems like plenty of developers are prepared to bide their time before making a judgement call.

That said, only 17 percent of claimed the prolonged spate of M&A activity will yield positive results, while 7 percent suggested it will have no impact whatsoever on the game industry.

A fistful of dollars

Conglomeration in games is nothing new, but the topic has become increasingly pertinent after what feels like a relentless spending spree by major players across the industry.

Both Microsoft and Sony have been keen to bolster their first-party ranks with major purchases, while other companies like Tencent, Embracer Group, NetEase, and Netflix have also made some notable moves as they seek to expand and diversify their respective video game businesses.

Digging a little deeper into how that impacts developers, one person surveyed suggested consolidation is largely inevitable and devs "should not be afraid of it." Another said they have "high hopes for the most part," but said it's too early to call whether the latest flurry of deals will be positive or negative for devs.

Others were more concerned. One developer said that "consolidation is bad for innovation, diversity or products, and addressing consumer needs, while another claimed conglomeration will ultimately result in "less originality."

To hear more insights from creators across the game industry, you can download the latest GDC State of the Industry survey for free by clicking here.

Game Developer and GDC are sibling companies under Informa Tech.

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