Update: Microsoft PR has confirmed the deal is worth around $68.7 billion.
In what looks like the gaming industry’s biggest deal ever, Microsoft has just announced that it has bought Activision Blizzard in the latest Xbox Wire post. Phil Spencer, CEO of Xbox has stated that Activision Blizzard will start reporting to him after the deal is closed, till then the company will still operate independently. Details about the deal itself are sparse, but the press has estimated the acquisition to cost around $70 billion.
It is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.
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.
The Xbox Wire post mentions, once the deal is complete, Xbox will offer as many Activision Blizzard titles as it can on Game Pass. Plus, this would also help the company diversify its Cloud Gaming portfolio and “provide building blocks for the metaverse”. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that big franchises like COD and Overwatch would become Xbox exclusives all of a sudden as losing out on all that PlayStation revenue would be too much of a bold move, even if Starfield is going this route.
Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.
This transaction would likely have to first go through comprehensive investigation by antitrust authorities as it’s almost as big as the 20th Century Fox acquisition by Disney that took nearly two years to get approved. For comparison, Microsoft also recently bought ZeniMax Media, Bethesda‘s parent company, for $7.5 billion and that purchase took 6 months to get regulatory approval from the EU. And, that’s on top of the lengthy integration that would follow to merge the brands successfully.
A deal with the devil
Activision Blizzard has been making the rounds for the past year on counts of several misconduct allegations and workplace harassment. One case after another, the studio has been trapped in a never-ending loop of bad press and horrible revelations for the past few months. This deal will certainly alleviate the stained image of the brand while pulling away from the negative press. If those allegations have actually been mitigated for, this could be the start of a new, more blissful chapter for Blizzard Activision.
Interestingly enough, last month Phil Spencer wrote to Bloomberg saying how Xbox/Microsoft is reevaluating its relationship with Activision Blizzard in light of recent events. How the things that took place at Activision Blizzard were deeply disturbing and had no place in the industry.
Weeks later, Microsoft announces that they have acquired the very company that they were just indifferent to. Regardless, progress is inevitable and perhaps this change is what Activision Blizzard needs to better itself after what has happened. Microsoft has confirmed that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will retain his position after the acquisition is complete.
You can read the full press release detailing the purchase here.