After Nearly Two Years Activision Blizzard King Are Now Owned By Microsoft
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have closed the $68.7 billion deal to bring the publisher into the Xbox family. The acquisition was announced in January 2022 and after going through various regulators around the world, the deal finally completed when Microsoft’s appeal to the UK regulators was accepted.
The all cash buyout means Microsoft now own franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Candy Crush Saga, Tony Hawks Pro Skater, Diablo, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Guitar Hero. This is on top of the IPs owned by Bethesda.
Now all of the court cases are settled, and the deal finalised Microsoft are looking to the future. Much like when the Richmond company acquired Bethesda, they’ve released a “welcome to the family” video (embedded above). The team have also confirmed that work has begun to bring legacy games to Game Pass, but with the sheer volume of games, this might not be for a little while.
It remains to be seen what happens to the current CEO Bobby Kotick. When Microsoft confirmed the deal back in 2022, the message was that he would stay on until the deal was complete. At this point all the studios would report to Phil Spencer. We expect once the internal merger to complete, he will step down owing to the recent allegations of misconduct of his directors under his watch.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has issued a statement on the deal:
As one team, we’ll learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people. We’ll do this in a culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work, where all people are welcome, and is centered on our ongoing commitment of Gaming for Everyone. We are intentional about inclusion in everything we do at Xbox – from our team to the products we make and the stories we tell, to the way our players interact and engage as a wider gaming community.
Together, we’ll create new worlds and stories, bring your favorite games to more places so more players can join in, and we’ll engage with and delight players in new, innovative ways in the places they love to play including mobile, cloud streaming and more.
Players have always been at the center of everything we do. And as we grow, we’ll continue to keep players at the heart of it all. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback, build a community where you can be yourself, where developers can do their best work, and continue to make really fun games. As promised, we will also continue to make more games available in more places – and that begins now by enabling cloud streaming providers and players to stream Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area, a commitment made to the European Commission.
For the millions of fans who love Activision, Blizzard, and King games, we want you to know that today is a good day to play. You are the heart and soul of these franchises, and we are honored to have you as part of our community. Whether you play on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC or mobile, you are welcome here – and will remain welcome, even if Xbox isn’t where you play your favorite franchise.Phil Spencer, Xbox.com
Who knows how this will play out, some analysts are saying this could negatively impact the industry as Microsoft could well hold any and all Activision games on it’s platform. Others think that this could drive competition as Sony and Nintendo look to bolster their own offerings. While keeping massive games like Call of Duty multiformat seems wise from a profit perspective, we only have to look at Starfield‘s exclusivity to see that Microsoft aren’t shy from locking big games to their platforms.
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