Blizzard buying King is really a match made in heaven. What’s Blizzard famous for? Taking a game, cloning it, and putting the Blizzard polish on it. Not familiar with King? Some light reading for you via Forbes about all of the games King has produced so far. The cloning factory just got a little bigger, and a little more mobile.
That aspect aside, the deal really makes zero sense for Blizzard, and is a great cash out for King. In addition to being a one-hit wonder (Candy Crush), King is also trending downwards, because while match-three is a near-timeless game/concept, the mega hype and mega spending around Candy Crush is dropping, not increasing. And while it could happen, the short history of King suggests that Candy Crush was their peak, and they have basically nothing else of real value. The odds are very low that their next game is a smash hit, especially in the cutthroat mobile arena that itself may be approaching its own peak (you can only hook and fool so many whales before they become a unicorn).
I think it’s far more likely that in a few years, King is closer to what Zynga is today (a basically-dead afterthought and industry joke) than a solid, major contributor to the Blizzard brand. I think it’s already too late to release a Warcraft themed match-three, that ship has sailed, and King doesn’t bring a solid core of good mobile gameplay experience like a Supercell would to produce something new and top-notch. (Imagine a Warcraft-themed Clash of Clans? That would print money and be an acquisition that would make more sense, though the purchase price is likely far outside what Blizzard is able to afford)
This seems like a diversification panic move to me, perhaps fueled by the very lukewarm reception to Hearthstone in the mobile space, and I don’t see how it ends well. That 5.9b isn’t money well spent. If anything, the question is how much of that 5.9b is already in the money pit, burning up into smoke?