Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard For $68.7B

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18 Jan 22

Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard For $68.7B

Microsoft has just caused a seismic shift in the gaming world, as the company announces they have acquired gaming giant Activision Blizzard for an eye-watering $68.7 billion.

Activision Blizzard is the company behind some of the biggest games in the world, such as Call Of Duty, Overwatch, Candy Crush, and the massive MMO franchise World Of Warcraft, along with Diablo and Starcraft. However, in the last few years, they ran into a mountain of controversy from alleged patent infringement to unpaid royalties. Whilst those things aren’t uncommon in the software world, the biggest issue came last year when the company was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing on allegations of sexual harassment and employee discrimination. This led to an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, employee walkouts, staff resigning or being given the boot, and event sponsors pulling support.

“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, 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.”

In something of an acknowledgement of Activision Blizzard recent problems, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer adds “As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.”

The acquisition will make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, leapfrogging over Nintendo who were previously in third place. What does this mean for gamers? Well, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer has said “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 catalogue,” so that is likely to be good news for many. However, moving forward, there is the possibility it could potentially see games such as Call of Duty become exclusive to Xbox and PC, which is not good news for Playstation owners.

The deal is expected to close in “the fiscal year 2023” as there are various hurdles it has to jump across multiple markets, so will take some time.