In a landmark move for the gaming industry, Microsoft has successfully finalized its $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the renowned publisher responsible for beloved franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo.
This acquisition was no small feat, as it entailed navigating 20 months of rigorous negotiations with regulatory bodies in the UK and the US.
Microsoft ultimately secured its deal after prevailing against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a US federal court and restructuring the agreement to satisfy the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK.
As the ink dries on this monumental agreement, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, excitedly proclaims, "We love gaming. We play games, create games, and know firsthand how much gaming means to all of us as individuals and collectively, as a community. And today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox.
Spencer emphasizes that, together, they will embark on a journey of learning, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to delivering the joy and sense of community that gaming offers to an even broader audience.
This endeavor is underpinned by a culture that strives to empower all and is centered on the unwavering commitment to "Gaming for Everyone."
Notably, this acquisition is Microsoft's most substantial to date, surpassing the $26 billion spent to acquire LinkedIn in 2016 and the $7.5 billion investment in Bethesda in 2021. Beyond the financial figures, this marks Microsoft's most significant foray into the gaming industry and solidifies its position as the "third-largest gaming company by revenue," trailing only Tencent and Sony.
What's next for gamers? Microsoft is poised to introduce a multitude of Activision Blizzard's games to Xbox Game Pass. Spencer promises, "Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms."
While the precise availability details will be unveiled in the coming months, the excitement is palpable.
However, not all titles will make their way to Xbox Game Pass immediately, as Activision Blizzard recently clarified that Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo IV won't be part of this year's offerings.
With this acquisition, Microsoft will incorporate more than nine game studios from the Blizzard side and over 11 locations from the mobile gaming King side.
Moreover, Microsoft emerges as a publishing powerhouse, with a grand total of over 8,500 Activision employees becoming part of the Microsoft family.
Despite the acquisition's complexities, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will continue to play a role in the transition until the close of 2023. He expressed, "
I have long said that I am fully committed to helping with the transition. Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players."
This acquisition journey was far from easy, with the CMA initially blocking the deal in the UK due to cloud-related concerns. In the US, the FTC's initial lawsuit aimed to halt the acquisition but eventually failed to secure a preliminary injunction.
Subsequently, Microsoft and the CMA reached an agreement regarding cloud gaming rights, allowing this monumental deal to proceed.
As Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard unfolds, the gaming community eagerly anticipates the exciting developments that lie ahead.