After their massive $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media back in 2020, Microsoft said that they had no plans to slow down when it came to acquiring game development studios. Today the tech giant announced plans for a new acquisition that blows the previous deal out of the water, as Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard in a massive $70 billion deal.
“Today, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc., a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher,” Microsoft said in a statement. “This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.”
The deal is currently valued at $68.7 billion ($95 a share), which is nearly 10 times what MS paid for Zenimax in 2020. The deal has yet to be officially finalized though, as it will need to go through the standard conditions and regulations procedures, though it is expected to close by June 2023.
Until the deal is finalized, Activision Blizzard will remain independent and current CEO Bobby Kotick will remain as CEO. After the deal is finalized, Activision Blizzard staff and employees will start responding to Xbox CEO Phil Spencer instead, who said in a statement:
“We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.”
Of course, the deal will make Microsoft the owner of some of the biggest franchises in the industry, including big hitters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Spencer also mentioned that they will aim to bring “as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from their catalogue.”
Spencer has been very keen on expanding more on their cloud gaming service too, something which the Activision Blizzard deal could help further: “When you think about potential opportunities,” Spencer added, “like, say, offering Diablo, Call of Duty or Overwatch via cloud streaming to anyone on any device, you can see just how exciting this deal really is.”
Activision Blizzard has recently been under a lot of fire for workplace misconduct, and has been the subject of much controversy. On top of that, many players have been criticizing Activision for focusing on quantity over quality, churning out yearly titles that have to be billion-dollar hits or else.
The acquisition by Microsoft however will have a chance to revitalize the company, not only improving inclusivity and fairness in the workplace, but might also help give some life into some of their titles once again.
“As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players,” Spencer said. “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.”
What do you think? Will the deal be finalized? Do you think the acquisition can help with improving the controversial workplace situation at Activision Blizzard? What will this mean for Game Pass? And what games would you like to see get added to the subscription catalogue? Let us know your thoughts!