The deal, which is expected to be approved in 2023, was confirmed by Xbox boss, Phil Spencer.
The acquisition is not only the largest one in video games but also in Microsoft’s history. It means Microsoft will own blockbuster franchises such as Call of Duty, Spyro, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk from Activision. Then they are getting World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone and StarCraft from Blizzard. They’ll also own the original micro-transaction monster - Candy Crush - from mobile arm King.
Microsoft will take over Activision, Blizzard, and all of its subsidiary studios. Includes Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob and Treyarch.
The deal comes after an extremely chaotic period for Activision Blizzard. With numerous reports of employee misconduct and toxic workplace conditions filling the headlines. Which has put intense pressure on the company’s hugely controversial boss Bobby Kotick. In a blog post, Spencer stated that both businesses will continue to work independently until the deal is complete. This hopefully means Kotick will bugger off in 2023.
In a Microsoft statement, the company also said: “Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard. He and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
In an investor call, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella stated that Activision had to “continue to improve the lived experiences” of employees. She also stated that progress required leaders who “not only talk the talk but walk the walk”. And that Microsoft knew it would have work to do after its acquisition was approved.
What About the Games?
As for game exclusivity - the main question which dogged Xbox through its acquisition of Bethesda - Spencer 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. We also announced that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.
“The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms. We plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”
In the wake of the monumental acquisition shares in Sony have dropped by 13 per cent, as the Tokyo stock market reacted to the announcement.
The fall in stock price is the largest since October 2008 - when Sony was forced to recall 100,000 laptop batteries due to fire hazard.
The Financial Times and Bloomberg spotted Sony’s sudden stock plunge overnight and noted it had wiped around $20bn from Sony’s market value.
So, what do you make of the announcement? What do you think this means for the future of gaming? Let us know on the old Zatu socials.