Microsoft‘s impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard is nothing new. The whole drama has been going on for a while now since early 2022. However, recently it turned into Microsoft vs. Gamers when a group of gamers took matters into their own hands and filed a lawsuit against Microsoft to stop the deal from going through.
While Microsoft is one of the biggest corporations on the planet, acquiring Activision Blizzard might’ve been their biggest ordeal as of yet. The whole thing has been going on since early 2022 when Microsoft made its intention clear for the first time that it is looking forward to acquiring Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft intends to buy Activision Blizzard for a sum of 68.7 billion USD. It will be the biggest acquisition in video game history if it follows through, which it most likely will in due time.
As of now, the biggest acquisition in terms of monetary value was when Take-Two Interactive acquired Zynga, a mobile and social video game developer company, for a sum of 12.7 billion USD in 2022.
The Microsoft/Activision Blizzard deal is worth much more than any other acquisition in the past. A deal of this scale has concerned several governments and giants from the video game industry, such as Sony and Nintendo.
It isn’t all about the money. Activision Blizzard owns Call of Duty, which is one of the most popular multiplayer first-person shooting games out there. The company also owns World of Warcraft which set the foundation of many modern MMORPG and RTS games such as DotA 2 and League of Legends.
Besides those two, Activision Blizzard also owns the rights to Candy Crush, one of the most popular mobile games globally. Of all these IPs, Call of Duty is still the most prominent one.
The Call of Duty franchise, despite releasing a new installment every other year which is barely different from the last, manages to sell millions of copies each year. The game might be full of bugs and glitches and have overwhelmingly negative reviews, but it is easily one of the biggest cash cows of Activision Blizzard.
What Has Happened So Far?
Now, one of the biggest causes of concern for many people is the fact that Microsoft might make Call of Duty more expensive or unavailable to platforms that the company does not own.
Sony had to step in because if any of that were to happen, Sony would lose a huge chunk of money it gets from people who buy PlayStation consoles to play the game. And it’s not just that. Making a globally popular game only available on platforms owned by Microsoft would create a potential monopoly in the video game industry.
Microsoft has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to @Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King. Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play. @ATVI_AB
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 7, 2022
However, Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, has proposed to enter a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Phil also confirmed that Microsoft is committed to continuing to offer Call of Duty on Steam and Xbox.
Our acquisition will bring Call of Duty to more gamers and more platforms than ever before. That's good for competition and good for consumers. Thank you @Nintendo. Any day @Sony wants to sit down and talk, we'll be happy to hammer out a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well. https://t.co/m1IQxdeo6n
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) December 7, 2022
Following Spencer’s tweet, Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, has clarified that their acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available to more players and platforms. Brad Smith also proposed a deal to Sony, saying that they’ll be happy to seal a 10-year deal for PlayStation for them if Sony agrees to it.
It is important to note that all of these are just pledges on social media. Microsoft isn’t in a position to seal such deals unless they acquire Activision Blizzard.
Gabe Newell, President of Valve Corporation and the owner of Steam, also has favored Microsoft by saying that the company has all the motivation it needs to provide Call of Duty on platforms where its customers want it to be.
Microsoft has also put forward the example of Minecraft. The game was developed by Mojang Studios and fully released in November 2011. Microsoft acquired Mojang Studios and Minecraft IP in 2014.
The game is now available on multiple platforms, not just the ones owned by Microsoft, and has gained heavy popularity in the last few years.
According to Microsoft, they intend to do the same with the Call of Duty IP by making it more accessible to gamers around the globe.
But then again, these are nothing but promises and pledges, which is why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Microsoft over the merger, claiming that if the deal were to go through, then it could potentially impede access to Activision games on other consoles.
We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believe in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present it in court.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) December 8, 2022
Despite all these obstacles in their way, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith remains confident in their case and is willing to take the opportunity to present it in court.
A group of 10 Call of Duty Fans Sues Microsoft
First, UK regulators launched an antitrust probe against the merger, and then came the FTC. Now, ten regular gamers from California, New Jersey, and New Mexico have decided to take matters into their own regular hands.
Now, these ten Call of Duty fans are ready to fight Microsoft over their acquisition of Activision Blizzard in the US court. While the result might already be quite painfully obvious, these gamers are refusing to give up.
These gamers have filed a lawsuit in the United States Court to stop Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. They claimed that Microsoft’s acquisition of the company would curb the competition in the video game industry.
Their claims are more or less the same as the FTC. However, there isn’t much ten gamers can do against a giant like Microsoft. But they do have a point with it since Microsoft will hold all the keys to harm the competition once the deal goes through.
In 2021, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, Bethesda‘s parent company. Since then, Bethesda has announced three games, all of which are exclusive titles, and one is about to release in a few months this year.
Now, here is where the FTC and the ten gamers are standing their ground. Bethesda announcing three exclusive titles directly contradicts their attitude towards making games more accessible instead of limiting them to Microsoft’s Xbox.
How Will The Deal Affect Everyone Else?
Judging from the situation so far, it is highly likely that the deal will go through, and sooner or later, Microsoft will finally succeed in acquiring Activision Blizzard. Now, how will it affect us, the regular gamers, once the deal succeeds?
While we can’t be entirely sure, Microsoft is expected to keep at least some of its promises and won’t limit access to Call of Duty. Microsoft has said that they will continue to offer games with huge multiplayer games on multiple platforms. So, if we get any more multiplayer games from Microsoft after the merger, those games will likely be available on multiple platforms.
However, the same can’t be said about single-player games. Starfield, an upcoming game from Microsoft-owned Bethesda, is an Xbox Exclusive, and more upcoming games from the company will likely be exclusive as well.
It isn’t all that bad, considering that Xbox is quite lacking compared to PlayStation in terms of exclusives. We can expect the Xbox player base to continue to grow in the coming years due to this merger. For now, Xbox has nothing to win over PlayStation’s intriguing collection of exclusives other than their Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox Game Pass is a video game subscription service that lets you play new and old games without paying anything extra other than the subscription cost. The service is only available for PC or Xbox, so if you own either of those, you can use it to play all these games without worrying about buying new games.
Sooner or later, Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard, and the deal will go through. FTC and ten average gamers, or anything else, won’t be able to stop Microsoft. A deal of this scale will drastically boost Xbox’s worth in the coming days, and Sony will have to do better to keep up.
About Call of Duty, the game is a mess, but we all love it. Hopefully, the game will receive some improvements in quality. But it is quite unlikely that any of it will happen.
We can’t rule out the fact that this merger will lead to a potential monopoly in the video game industry, as Microsoft will now hold all the keys to shape the future of Xbox and other consoles for the coming decade.
For now, we’ll just have to trust Microsoft and hope that it doesn’t get too greedy. Instead, it shapes a better future for Xbox and other consoles by making games more accessible to their customers.
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