Microsoft has announced it’s purchasing the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and more, Activision Blizzard in an earth-shattering deal worth $68.7 billion.
Activision development teams like Blizzard, Beenox, Demonware, High Moon, Infinity Ward, King, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and more will be folded into Xbox Game Studios. The deal will bring Microsoft’s internal game development studios to 30 “along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities”.
After the deal closes, Microsoft will own franchises including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft and many more. In an Xbox Wire post, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming revealed it’s looking to bring as many Activision titles to Xbox Box Game Pass which he reveals is over 25 million subscribers now.
“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 catalogue,” Spencer said in an Xbox Wire post.
Microsoft is acquiring the publisher at $95 per share in an all-cash transaction. The deal will reportedly close in Microsoft’s 2022 to 2023 fiscal year which ends on June 30th, 2023 which will make Microsft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. Until the deal closes, Activision will run independently under Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick.
“Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company´s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming,” Microsoft said in a press release.
The acquisition news is off the heels of the public fallout of Activision’s discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed by the state of California and other multiple controversies. The lawsuit resulted in key figures leaving the company and multiple strikes from ABK employees. Back then, Spencer sent an email to Xbox staff about Activision Blizzard’s misconduct which revealed he and the leadership team were “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” and that “this type of behaviour has no place in our industry”.
In a later email in November, Spencer confirmed that he was “evaluating” Xbox’s relationship with Activision Blizzard following the company’s response to Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick’s allegations. It seems that if Activision isn’t going to change its company’s culture then Microsoft might change it themselves under its leadership.
“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,” Spencer said in an Xbox Wire post announcing Activision’s acquistion.
“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.”