Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), the publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, among other major global video game titles, has announced its acquisition of Zynga, an American social game developer based in San Francisco, for $12.7 billion.

Zynga, a leading mobile game publisher that made its name on casual smash hits like FarmVille and Words With Friends, has recently pivoted towards a blockchain-driven NFT game future. The company announced today that it will be acquired by gaming conglomerate Take-Two Interactive for a deal valued at $12.7 billion.

“This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity,” shares Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick.

Take-Two is the publisher behind iconic gaming franchises such as Rockstar Games and 2K Games, which have both released popular game titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne; NBA 2K, PGA Tour, NHL 2K, Civilization, Bioshock, and Borderlands, among others.

In late 2021, Zynga disclosed its early forays into blockchain-backed gaming powered by NFTs. Zynga hired Matt Wolf as its VP for Blockchain Gaming in November 2021. Wolf previously headed D20, a media agency focused on gaming, esports, creator culture, blockchain, and NFTs. Wolf also previously headed the Entertainment and Ventures division at The Coca-Cola Company. Wolf is also an advisor to NFT platforms Epics Digital Collectibles and Kolex. In the same year prior to the acquisition by Take-Two Interactive, Zynga partnered with Forte, a developer of blockchain solutions for game publishers.

“In terms of NFTs, it’s very early days. It’s a process that I think conceptually we have a lot of faith and belief in—the idea that players will play-to-earn or play-to-own is a very compelling idea that we think will have legs as the industry develops.” shared Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau.

Interestingly, Take-Two’s own CEO, Zelnick, previously had negative views of crypto and NFT space, going so far as to state the following in May 2021:

“If you take metaverse, SPAC, and cryptocurrency, put them all together, in five years will any of this matter? I’m not sure that it will.”

It seems that the tables have turned though, and Take-Two is doing a 180-degree turn towards NFTs and blockchain gaming. With the prevalence of NFTs among sports fans, and the pervasive influence of these titles in the competitive gaming scene, a massive following is likely in the works. The deal is expected to close by June 30 this year, with the approval of both firms’ shareholders and relevant regulators.

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