Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard – What does the acquisition mean?
Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The developers behind Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty will be joining Microsoft and Xbox Game Pass very soon. News of the acquisition quickly spread far and wide, with numerous comments on the value, price, changes and issues surrounding this entire venture.
What will actually change with the new owner and what can we expect for the future?
Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard
Microsoft has announced that they have struck a deal that will see them buy Activision Blizzard. The company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. Because Activision Blizzard is a publicly traded and owned company, this acquisition is a bit more complicated than recent ones for Microsoft. The full deal is not expected to close until mid-2023. Until then, Activision Blizzard games will continue to release as usual.
Activision Blizzard is home to some of the biggest franchises in gaming. However, they also dominate a fair share of the esports market. The Call of Duty League, Overwatch, StarCraft, Warcraft and Hearthstone will all be managed by Microsoft going forward. This is a pretty big part of the action for the company. Details are scary as to what Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will mean for upcoming games like Overwatch 2 and future installments of Call of Duty. However, Microsoft will get a large chunk of the esports as part of the deal.
Activision Blizzard has faced many issues over the past few months. The company has been rocked by a series of allegations of sexual harassment. They are currently on an extended strike. Activision’s CEO has so far refused to step down from the board despite his involvement in the controversy. The new deal raises even more questions about these ongoing issues. We’ll have to see how Microsoft handles this, but big changes lie ahead for the company.
What can we expect?
First of all, everyone is aware that with this deal, Microsoft intends to make the entire amount of games and titles purchased available on their Xbox Game Pass service. In addition, their influence can only change certain internal policies and, in the long run, strengthen a different office work ethic and culture. In terms of direct involvement, it is not Microsoft’s nature to directly influence the companies it acquires, especially when those companies have established protocols and culture.
This would mean that all developments for the games, now and in the future, should probably still remain under the direction of current minds. The only thing that would change would be the supervisors, CEOs, vice presidents and all the bureaucratic crème. It has been rumored and partially released that current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will step down after the deal is finalized. This could mean he has no intention of stepping down any time soon and will hold his post until next year.
In terms of esports, we shouldn’t expect any changes any time soon. It would be ideal if Microsoft created their own esports holding company to oversee the competitive aspect of all the titles they now own, but in reality it’s all just wishful thinking. The main goal of this acquisition is to make Game Pass the go-to service for gamers, everything else will likely remain as is.
What did Microsoft buy?
Microsoft has been in a buying frenzy for the past several years that few could have ignored. They’ve taken over some of the biggest developers out there, but this latest is by far their biggest. Priced at just under $70 billion, it’s huge. Though given all the recent controversy plaguing Activision-Blizzard, that’s probably a cheaper price than they would have gotten just a few months ago.
In addition to Activision-Blizzard itself, the company currently owns studios such as Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Raven Software, Major League Gaming, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch. All of these companies will be under Microsoft after the deal closes.
Microsoft is adding some of its biggest franchises yet to its stable. What does this mean for these games? The acquisition will add huge back catalogs to the gaming streaming service. This is potentially bad news for any Call of Duty or Overwatch fan on PlayStation if Microsft wants to take a hard-headed approach and limit the titles to their service only. However, it is still a bit early. We don’t currently know what the plans are for these games after the merge is complete.
Microsoft specifically announced its future plans for Metaverse developments following this acquisition. It’s not widely known right now what exactly they’re aiming for with the Metaverse, and whether Activision will have a big part in that.
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