Microsoft Makes Blockbuster $68.7 Billion Purchase of Activision Blizzard

CEO Bobby Kotick is rumored to be leaving following the close of the deal.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/18/2022 11:52 1 Comment     ShareThis

It’s highly unlikely that anyone had this on their 2022 video game news bingo card. Microsoft, which produces the Xbox brand of video game consoles, has purchased Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion. That’s billion with a “b,” folks, and a figure that makes Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 look both quaint and like an absolute bargain. The news broke this morning and has sent the industry into a whirlwind of speculation regarding the future of Activision Blizzard’s various studios and IPs.

Of late, Activision Blizzard has been amassing a lot of negative press thanks to ongoing office abuse scandals and litigation. On the receiving end of this has been embattled CEO Bobby Kotick. Many have wondered whether or not Kotick will remain with Activision Blizzard following this acquisition, and while initially it seemed that he would stay and report to Xbox CEO Phil Spencer, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there are rumors that the CEO will not be sticking around:

Beyond the scandals, fans will likely be very curious what will happen with the numerous series that Activision Blizzard has in its back catalogue. Here’s the press release from Microsoft for some insight:

Creators of Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft and more join Team Xbox

As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.

As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. 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.

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.

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. We also announced today 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 and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.

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.

Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games. And there has never been a better time to play than right now. As we extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone, we look forward to welcoming all of our friends at Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming.

There’s nothing specific about which platforms might or might not see the continues presence of particular games (outside of the Xbox/Microsoft ecosystem, to be clear), but there are a number of things to keep in mind for Nintendo fans. First off, relations between Microsoft and Nintendo have been very strong in recent years. From the introduction of Xbox IPs like Cuphead and Ori to Switch, to the reintroduction of Banjo-Kazooie both as a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter and the upcoming release of the N64 original on Nintendo Switch Online, the two companies have been working together for a while now. It stands to reason that Microsoft would want to continue this arrangement moving into the future, especially given the company’s focus on playing games across a wide spectrum of platforms, not just Xbox.

Also, in terms of franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Call of Duty, and so on, it’s likely Microsoft will take an approach similar to what it did with the acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang. In that case, Minecraft was so prolific and on so many platforms that it wouldn’t have made good business sense to suddenly prune the player base down to just Xbox and PC. Thus, Minecraft has remained for many years now a multiplatform franchise. Longterm, there will surely be ramifications to the shape of the industry with such a large company as Activision Blizzard now under the banner of Xbox, but things are looking in the positive for Nintendo fans who hope to keep playing titles like Spyro and Diablo. We’ll continue to update as we learn more about this deal.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

One Response to “Microsoft Makes Blockbuster $68.7 Billion Purchase of Activision Blizzard”

  • 1570 points
    penduin says...

    I must not be much of a “gamer” after all. I know these are huge franchises and this is literally an enormous deal, but I apparently haven’t played anything from Activision or Blizzard.

    This was the next logical step in what Microsoft started with the original Xbox — buying their way to control over gaming, just as they did with personal computing. In both cases, it seems, my interests are a fair distance away from their offerings — GNU and Linux for computers, and Nintendo consoles with an occasional Sega or Sony thrown in.

    Remember when Square buying Enix felt too big and powerful and monopolistic? I pine for the days of only somewhat-runaway out-of-control capitalism.

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