In an industry-shaking move, Microsoft has confirmed that it will acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal to cost around $68.7 billion USD. The Call of Duty publisher is one of the largest and most successful AAA companies in the games industry. It owns many hit franchises such as Overwatch, Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, and Candy Crush. All of these will become the property of Microsoft once the deal is finalized.
Microsoft claims in its statement that this deal will help “accelerate the growth” of its business plans across PC, mobile, and the cloud. Additionally, the acquisition will see Microsoft become the third-largest gaming company by revenue only behind Tencent and Sony.
In a follow-up email shared by trusted Call of Duty leaker CharlieIntel, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick verified that Microsoft won’t finalize the deal until sometime during its 2023 fiscal year. Until then, Activision will continue to operate as an independent company. Furthermore, Bobby Kotick is expected to remain the CEO, despite the many allegations that have been brought to light during his tenure. However, he will have a new boss in the form of Phil Spencer as CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
The deal could still fall through if authorities raise concerns over a potential monopoly. After all, this acquisition follows the equally enormous move of buying Bethesda which Microsoft completed last year. Back-to-back acquisitions of this scale are unheard of in the games industry, so it’s difficult to predict what will happen.
The future home of Activision games
The question for many: what does this mean for Activision’s games? Will Microsoft make all Activision Blizzard titles exclusive to PC and Xbox in the future? Although we don’t know for sure, that seems unlikely given the language used in the announcement.
Microsoft emphasizes that this acquisition will “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” However, similar concerns were raised over the Bethesda acquisition and the end result of that was Xbox’s CFO Tim Stuart saying that Bethesda games will be “first or better” on Microsoft’s platforms. What this means for Activision’s future though is currently unknown.