Microsoft tried buying Zynga prior to Activision Blizzard deal

Zynga image
(Image credit: Zynga)

What you need to know

  • During the FTC vs. Microsoft hearing, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer explained that prior to the Activision Blizzard deal, Microsoft looked at buying Zynga. 
  • Zynga is a mobile developer and publisher responsible for numerous games such as the Farmville franchise. 
  • Spencer explains that ultimately, the deal didn't work out because Microsoft needed something bigger. 
  • Zynga was purchased by Take-Two Interactive for $12.7 billion in 2022.

More and more information continues to pour out of the FTC vs. Microsoft Corp hearing, which is in its second day. 

During the hearing, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer testified to Microsoft counsel that prior to reaching a deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, Microsoft tried buying Zynga. 

Zynga is a developer and publisher responsible for a number of mobile gaming franchises, such as Farmville and Zynga Poker. Ultimately, the purchase didn't work out, with Microsoft evidently wanting even bigger mobile games to help break into that market.

"We have a lot of respect for the people at Zynga and what they've built, but we thought we needed to have something that was even bigger than what Zynga was," Spencer says.

Zynga was ultimately acquired by Take-Two Interactive for $12.7 billion in 2022. Spencer previously spoke at length about Microsoft's desire to build an Xbox mobile store that could help Xbox challenge the "duopoly" held by Apple and Google.

Microsoft currently maintains an extremely limited presence in mobile gaming, with one developer, Alpha Dog Games under Bethesda Softworks, dedicated to making mobile games. Alpha Dog Games' first title under Bethesda, Mighty Doom, launched earlier in 2023. 

Windows Central's take

This isn't too surprising. Microsoft Gaming executives have repeatedly emphasized how much they want to use Activision Blizzard for mobile gaming, and prior to that, looking at a company like Zynga certainly makes sense. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.