Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard: The company has announced it is in the process of buying the publishers and developers of games like Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft
Microsoft is reportedly in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, a move that would make the company the third-largest gaming company by revenue, according to a press release posted on Xbox Wire.
“As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet,” the release said. “As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.”
The purchase, which is a cash deal worth about $68.7 billion, means Microsoft will own the likes of “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 more, the release said.
The deal is not expected to be completed until July 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal, and until then, Microsoft says the two companies will continue to operate independently.
That also means, as reported by IGN, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in charge of Activision Blizzard until the purchase is completed. Kotick recently has been the focus of investigation and scrutiny in the gaming community because of allegations of sexual misconduct at the company. It’s also being reported that Kotick will step down once the acquisition is completed, according to Business Insider.
What does Microsoft gain in the purchase?
In terms of games, Microsoft stands to gain huge franchises such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush and many others in the purchase. That also means Microsoft now owns IP like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, as Activision purchased those from Sony years ago.
The good news for PlayStation and Nintendo fans is that Microsoft is reportedly not planning to restrict existing franchises to Xbox consoles in the future, as reported by Business Insider. However, exclusive PlayStation content for games like Call of Duty will likely no longer happen following the current iteration of that series Call of Duty: Vanguard, according to PlayStation Lifestyle.
What about the regulators?
On another note, it’s being reported that the purchase of Activision Blizzard could be part of Microsoft’s strategy to enter and compete in the metaverse. But according to The Guardian, the company’s continual growth could help it get on the list of those being monitored by financial watchdog groups.
“But the opinion of regulators and lawmakers matters on this deal,” The Guardian writes. “Microsoft is one of the big three console makers and owns games-making studios such as Mojang, the creator of Minecraft. If this deal goes ahead, it would make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gamesmaker and it will be noted by regulators, says David Wagner, analyst and portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors.”