Microsoft just dropped its first bombshell for 2022 – it wants to buy-over Activision Blizzard!
Just shy of a year when the Microsoft Xbox team officially welcomed Bethesda, Redmond is now eyeing an equally as big – if not bigger – acquisition. The press release, fresh out of the Microsoft Press Room, confirmed that there is a firm willingness to splash a cool US$68.7 billion – in cash! – to take in Activision Blizzard.
“When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from Activision, Blizzard and King studios like Warcraft franchise, Diablo series, Overwatch, Call of Duty titles and Candy Crush, in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the world with nearly 10,000 employees,” the media announcement stated.
If confirmed, Microsoft will have – to-date – 30 internal game development studios and have expanded publishing and eSports production capabilities.
From the standpoints of being a studio and already having a massive games library, this move will expand the mobile, first-person shooter (FPS) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) titles for Xbox Game Studios. The first order of business, if the merger is successful, is to bolster Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio and launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass in short order.
As for legal issues, once this offer goes through and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agrees to the take-over, Microsoft will be taking on all the grievances and negative charges that the embattled Activision Blizzard management team is now facing.
The press release also confirmed that Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as Activision Blizzard CEO and will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, they will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.
“Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want,” Spencer said.
Also on the cards is the employee demand sheet, which includes a fifth of the 10,000 strong workforce – roughly 2,000 odd, that Kotick resigns. The Wall Street Journal, which was one of the first to break the proposed acquisition, included in its report that Spencer had shared how Microsoft had been evaluating its position with Activision Blizzard.
It’s very likely that the consideration to buy-out the game publisher had been a part of the ongoing discussion. Even the Bethesda acquisition plan came without warning.
Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft, noted how this will help Microsoft’s push into the metaverse. While unclear on what this would entail, Nadella did hint at ongoing augmented reality (AR) efforts at Redmond with this statement: “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.”