A recent report from Jason Schreier of Bloomberg stated that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard in a deal that is worth $70 billion. Blizzard has been facing tons of backlash recently due to their workplace ethics and sexual misconduct with female employees. They are also the developers of the Call of Duty series, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft among other massive titles. The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors at Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. If all goes to plan, the deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023.
BREAKING: The WSJ reports that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, the troubled publisher behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, which has been facing crisis over the last year following numerous reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination. A seismic gaming deal
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 18, 2022
This story is currently developing so we will have to wait and see what happens next. After the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. Satya Nadella, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft stated:
Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms. We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.
Schreier went on to say that Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Blizzard. He will report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Kotick has been in the middle of ongoing lawsuits regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. Whether or not he stays as the CEO after the deal closes remains to be seen.
Microsoft PR: “Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard… Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Not 100% clear yet whether Bobby will stay on after the ink dries.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 18, 2022
“As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.
As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.
Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across 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 every team across Activision Blizzard.
Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.
Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog. We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.
The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.
As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.
Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games. And there has never been a better time to play than right now. As we extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone, we look forward to welcoming all of our friends at Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming.”
This isn’t the first big studio Microsoft acquired in 2021. This is just the latest massive acquisition from Microsoft, following its buyout of ZeniMax/Bethesda. It would appear that Blizzard’s numerous studios and almost 10,000 employees will also become part of Xbox going forward. After the transaction goes through, Microsoft will have a total of 30 internal game development studios.
What remains to be seen is if Blizzard’s massive titles will be exclusive to Xbox/PC. Imagine if Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch become exclusive to Xbox. This power move has certainly put Microsoft ahead of Sony in the console wars. Let’s see how Sony replies to this. Let us know in the comments below what you think of this massive acquisition.