Microsoft sent shockwaves through the video game industry today following the announcement of their plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Upon closing, the deal will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in the world, following Tencent and Sony.
This historic acquisition means that Microsoft will own all of the franchises across Activision, Blizzard, and King. This includes games like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Starcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and Candy Crush. Upon closing, the deal will bring Microsoft’s total number of internal game development studios to 30.
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO at Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”
Activision Blizzard has come under fire in recent months following various sexual harassment allegations stemming from a lawsuit filed by the state of California last year. According to Microsoft, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who likewise received criticism for turning a blind eye towards sexual misconduct allegations within the company, will remain in his position for now. “Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.” said Phil Spencer on Xbox Wire.
The acquisition is a major win for Game Pass members on both Xbox and PC, as Microsoft plans to bring most of Activision Blizzard’s games to the subscription service. “Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.”
The acquisition deal is expected to finalize in 2023, specifically in “Microsoft’s fiscal 2023 year ending June 30, 2023,” according to an email sent to Activision Blizzard employees today from Kotick. While we may not see the effects of this acquisition right away, it will be interesting to see how the deal impacts the various game franchises involved. Be sure to check back here for updates.