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Microsoft plans to buy the powerhouse but troubled video game company Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion, its biggest deal ever and one that places a major bet that people will spend more and more time in the digital world.

The blockbuster acquisition, announced Tuesday, would catapult the company into a leading spot in the $175 billion gaming industry. Games on virtually every kind of device, from bulky consoles to smartphones, have gained even greater popularity during the pandemic. Technology companies are swarming around the industry, looking for a bigger share of attention and money from the world’s 3 billion gamers.

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