All I have to do is listen to the hours of screaming from my teenage son’s room to know that videogames are a big, big business. And unlike many other industries, it was unharmed by the pandemic. In fact, the industry got bigger. That’s part of the reason why Microsoft, already a huge player in the space with Xbox, Minecraft, and Halo, just announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush) for a cool $69 billion. For the deal to go through, the two companies will have to shoot, blast, and build their way past government regulators in order to level up to what would be Microsoft’s biggest ever acquisition. To give this deal some context, consider that Microsoft’s biggest acquisition so far was its $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn. And the price tag for Activision Blizzard is roughly equal to Microsoft’s five previous largest acquisitions combined. That number is that enormous despite the fact that Activision has fired dozens of employees due to an ongoing sexual misconduct scandal.

The deal is about gaming. It’s also about, yes, the metaverse. Peter Kafka in ReCode: “While streaming TV shows and movies occupy a ton of media attention, video games capture a ton of regular people’s attention: Microsoft says there are 3 billion gamers around the world today, and says that number will get to 4.5 billion by 2030. And if you want to get really fanciful: If any version of the metaverse or virtual reality future we’ve been hearing about for the past couple years comes to pass, it will almost certainly be grounded in games. Maybe Future You won’t want to strap on face goggles throughout your day. But putting on a device to shoot at virtual strangers is less of a stretch.” Microsoft is buying one of the biggest names in games — if Washington lets it. (I’d have to ask for my son’s insight on this, but to me, if Activision Blizzard is worth $69 billion, Wordle has to be worth at least $70 billion. And as a bonus, unlike my son, I only scream once a day.)