And we thought the Microsoft acquisition of ZeniMax/Bethesda couldn’t be topped; in a shocking bit of Tuesday morning news, Microsoft announced that they are in talks to acquire Activision Blizzard for “for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash,” a move which would make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue behind Tencent and Sony. The merger will add such big-name titles as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Overwatch and mobile games such as Crandy Crush to exclusive fashion under the Microsoft banner. The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger is expected to finalize at the end of the fiscal year 2023, between July 2022 and June 2023.
The procedure will add all the companies and subdivisions under the Activision Publishing family to Microsoft, including Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch.
“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,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft in a press release concerning the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger. “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.”
Phil Spencer, under his new designation of CEO of Microsoft Gaming added, “Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them. Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”
Regarding Activision Blizzard’s current CEO Bobby Kotick, Spencer said Kotick will “continue to serve as Activision CEO” for the meantime. “Until this transaction closes,” Spencer explained, “Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger will also add a plethora of high-caliber titles to Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service, particularly at the prospect of future installments of such titles as Call of Duty or Diablo 4 being available as day one exclusive titles.
What do you think of the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger news? Does the proposed acquisition change the landscape of gaming forever or shift the ninth generation of console gaming definitively in Microsoft/Xbox’s favor? Tell us what you think in the comments.