In a shocking move, Microsoft has announced that it will be acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Yes, with a “B”.
The news of this acquisition dropped today and we are still reeling from it. Not only are there big numbers involved, but this is a big move which may likely have ramifications into the future of the gaming industry.
For now, let’s break down what we know.
The deal is valued at around $68.7 billion, which is considerably higher than the $7.5 billion it paid to acquire Bethesda last year. It is an even bigger amount than the $26 billion Microsoft paid in 2016 to acquire LinkedIn.
With this big push into gaming, the company says it will become the third largest gaming company by revenue, behind only Tencent and Sony.
So what does this mean for you, the average game-enjoyer? While we will go into a deeper dive into this topic at a later date, for now let’s talk about immediate changes that gamers can expect to see.
First and foremost, many of Activision Blizzard’s game library will be coming to Game Pass, which is a big win for users. It only makes the service more player friendly.
Secondly, Microsoft will now be publishing all of Activision Blizzard’s franchises which include and are not limited to Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Legacy of Kain. (Please publish a Legacy of Kain game! It’s been 19 years! Please!)
He will be replaced by none other than Xbox head, Phil Spencer, who definitely has a better public image and relationship with gamers… for now.
Rather controversially, Microsoft said that Kotick will remain in the company that he has been for the last 30 years, though they did not specify what role he would play.
While we are on the topic of Activision Blizzard, it is also worth noting that the company has been facing multiple claims of sexual harassment, workplace abuse, and more.
The company has since had to pay a $18 million settlement fee to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but the case is far from over.
It is currently unknown how Microsoft will handle both the legal case and the toxic workplace culture that led to it in the first place.
Surely they couldn’t do a worse job than Bobby Kotick, right?
Last but not least, a fun fact that will make you go, “Whoa…”:
This acquisition by Microsoft is the current largest tech acquisition in history.
This beats Dell’s (at the time unprecedented) $67 billion purchase of EMC by about $1.7 billion, give or take.
In conclusion, while we were sleeping, the Earth shifted beneath our feet.
Fancy metaphors aside, this is a big shift in the gaming industry that could shape the future of the industry for years to come.
This decision affects everything from game exclusivity to game development to company culture and so much more.
Let us all wait and see what happens next.