In what can only be described as the most stunning news thus far for 2022, Phil Spencer and Microsoft have announced that they have officially purchased Activision Blizzard for an insane amount of $68.7 billion. The company made the announcement today on a blog post, welcoming essentially every single IP owned by both Activision and Blizzard into the Xbox family. With this acquisition, Microsoft now owns a plethora of new titles, which will more than likely be utilized for their Xbox Game Pass service.
“Bobby Kotick will remain as Activision Blizzard CEO after Microsoft acquisition” https://t.co/Am3YtSCNNE
— Wario64 (@Wario64) January 18, 2022
Microsoft states that this is the largest deal in the company’s history, which completely trounces the Bethesda deal back in 2020 where Microsoft purchased the company and all of those assets for $7.5 billion. As we already stated, Microsoft will own some of gaming’s biggest franchises once the deal is all set, some of which consistently make a large amount of revenue each year. Some of the most notable ones include Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Candy Crush, StarCraft, just to name a few. Spencer showed great enthusiasm for the acquisition, “Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them. Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.” Spencer also states in the blog post that until this transaction is completed, both companies will continue to operate independently from each other. However, once the deal is fully done, Spencer says “the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
In addition to this earth-shattering news, Microsoft mentioned that current CEO Bobby Kotick will retain his position following the acquisition. This is an important point as Kotick is currently at the center of a major scandal for Activision Blizzard involving the recent allegations of employee harassment at Blizzard. This prompted multiple studios and company’s to criticize Kotick and his stance on the issue, including Phil Spencer at Microsoft. Spencer doesn’t mention the scandal directly on the blog post, but he does make a quick mention in regards to workplace culture. “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.”
Kotick himself is optimistic for the new deal and looks forward to the new relationship with Microsoft, “The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.” Obviously, there will be some more details that will need to be ironed out as this deal progresses, but there is no doubt that Microsoft has once again shocked the video game industry. This now brings the total amount of studios in the Xbox Game umbrella to roughly 30, and one of them is Blizzard. That is a sentence that no one in the video game community would ever even consider to utter, and now it has basically become a reality.
One of the biggest questions that this brings up is how exclusive all of Xbox’s new games will be, not just on the console side of things, but also on the PC side. Will games be supported on Mac/ OSX computers/devices and non-Xbox gaming platforms? Or will everything become Xbox or Windows exclusives down the line? A Microsoft spokesperson told mxdwn “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.”