Microsoft Seals the $68.7 Billion Activision Blizzard Deal: What This Means for Gamers
Microsoft has done it. They've wrapped up their jaw-dropping $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, marking the biggest deal in the history of the gaming industry. For Xbox fans, this is like the gaming equivalent of a blockbuster trade in the sports world. Microsoft now has custody of epic franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Diablo. Mobile gamers aren't left out either—Candy Crush maker King is also now under the Xbox umbrella.
Joining the Xbox family are noteworthy development studios like Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, Toys for Bob, Beenox, and High Moon Studios. So, if you’re a fan of any of those studios, buckle up for a fun ride ahead.
“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.”
Spencer elaborated on Microsoft’s inclusive approach to gaming, stating,
“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.”
He also gave us a glimpse of what’s to come:
“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.”
In true gamer spirit, he emphasized:
“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.”
What really caught attention was Microsoft's pledge to enable streaming of Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area, keeping their word to the European Commission.
But the path to this acquisition wasn’t all fun and games. Microsoft had to navigate a maze of regulatory concerns. One big hurdle was the possibility of making Call of Duty an Xbox and PC exclusive. To alleviate those concerns, Microsoft and Sony shook hands to keep the game available on PlayStation, reportedly for the next decade.
Microsoft also made strategic moves to placate regulators, signing long-term distribution agreements with cloud gaming providers to satisfy the European Commission. They even agreed to sell Ubisoft cloud gaming rights outside the European Economic Area for all Activision Blizzard games released over the next 15 years to secure the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority's approval.
Activision Blizzard dropped its own teaser, mentioning that they expect to start adding their titles to Game Pass in 2024.
While the US Federal Trade Commission couldn’t block the deal independently, Microsoft still faces some resistance from the regulator. But for now, the Xbox universe just got a whole lot bigger, and for gamers, this is like opening a treasure chest of endless possibilities.