If you have been on the internet for the past day or so, I’m sure that you have heard that Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard. You know the frat guys who publish of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. Yeah, the one who can’t seem to create a new Diablo without it looking like just a DLC for the third one.
The deal is said to value Activision at $68.7 billion, which is one of the larger purchases that Microsoft has made lately, far exceeding the $26 billion they paid to pick up LinkedIn just 6 years ago. This would be Microsoft’s largest move with games, with people in the company saying that it would make Microsoft the “third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony” once the deal closes.
With this acquisition we could see Microsoft adding many of Activision’s games to Xbox Game Pass once the deal closes. Since with the acquisition, Microsoft would be publisher of franchises like Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and so much more. “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,” Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer said.
Does this mean we could see World of Warcraft drop the monthly charge for PC Game Pass users, and start the converting of WOW to the Xbox console?
This comes on the tail of the Activision Blizzard’s lawsuit over sexual harassment claims, as well as more than 40 employees leaving due to what could be read as their involvement in the actions. The $18 million settlement that is currently being appealed, seen the company to drop substantially in subscribers across the board.
In response, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated, “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”
It isn’t clear at this time how Microsoft will approach solving the issues with the company, but Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard for now. Though it looks like Kotick won’t remain once the deal is fully closed. Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, says the Activision Blizzard business will report directly to him.
“As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players,” says Spencer. “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.”
Microsoft expects the Activision Blizzard deal “to close in fiscal year 2023.” That means that due to regulations and the reach that Activision Blizzard had with its catalogue, we might not see this deal approved for up to 18 months. It is a closing that could be complicated due to the number of markets that A/B operates in.