Jon Russell / Flickr

Microsoft (MSFT) finished 2018 as the world’s most valuable company, with a $779.8 billion market cap, and, while it’s difficult to predict where the stock will head in 2019, the tech giant may have tipped its hand through its M&A activity over the last 12 months.

While the company’s acquisition of GitHub for $7.5 billion was perhaps the most notable of 2018, another statistic stands out: 7 out of the 15 acquisitions made by Microsoft last year involved video game development studios.

Included in this list are PlayFab, a complete backend platform provider of services to build, launch and grow cloud-connected games; Compulsion Games, creator of We Happy FewUndead Labs, creator of the State of Decay franchise; Playground Games, creator of the Forza racing franchise; Ninja Theory, creator of HellbladeObsidian Entertainment, creator of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series; and Inxile, creator of the Wasteland series.

If this pattern of acquisitions persists into 2019, one potential target for Microsoft could end up being Discord, the popular chat service utilized extensively by video game communities and guilds, which recently closed a $150 million fundraising round that values the company at $2.05 billion.

This idea might not be as outlandish as many would think, as the two companies are already collaborating and Microsoft has been shifting away from its hardware-focused model to digital content and streaming.

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In addition to gaming, it looks like Microsoft’s second major focus centered around artificial intelligence, with acquisitions including Bonsai and Lobe.

Here’s the full history of Microsoft’s 2018 M&A activity:

More: Microsoft’s Acquisition History
Related: Why Discord Might Be a Prime Acquisition Target for Microsoft
Photo: Jon Russell / Flickr



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