I don’t typically post news but I had to at least mention this insanity! Microsoft has officially confirmed that they intend to purchase Activision-Blizzard for a whopping $68.7-billion, making it the largest acquisition in video game history. By comparison, Microsoft bought Zenimax for just $7.5-billion. My mind boggles.
The transaction has not actually gone through yet and therefore anything can still happen, but Microsoft has already posted up a short post written by Phil Spencer welcoming Activision-Blizzard into the family.
“As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.
As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.”
Activision Blizzard have, of course, been in the news constantly due to a series of problems at the company, including numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Current CEO Bobby Kotick has been heavily under fire for seemingly ignoring many of the problems, as well as other things, such as allegedly threatening to kill someone years ago over the phone.
Microsoft themselves actually commented on the state of Activision-Blizzard quite recently, saying that they were “evaluating all aspects” of their relationship with them, while Phil Spencer also stated that they were, “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” It seems that “evaluating” the relationship actually meant buying the company outright.
Was this deal years in the making, or is it actually quite recent with Microsoft seeing an opportunity to acquire Activision-Blizzard relatively cheap thanks to the bad PR dropping Activision-Blizzard’s stock price. Previously the company’s value had reached just over $100 per share, but recently has been trading around $65. According to reports, Microsoft offered $95 per share.
Despite many people calling for Kotick to resign or be fired, Microsoft has confirmed he will remain in charge of Activision-Blizzard. Personally, though, I think he’ll step down shortly because I have to imagine Microsoft will want to reform the company’s failing image and getting rid of Kotick would go a long way toward that.
This new deal means that when the deal goes through Microsoft will own a bunch of new game properties, including Call of Duty, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and heaps more. Some of the new studios they will own will include names such as Treyarch, Beenox, Sledgehammer, Toys for Bob and High Moon Studios.
With Activision-Blizzard, Microsoft will become the third biggest video game company in terms of revenue behind Tencent and Sony.
If all this wasn’t already mind-boggling enough, Microsoft have already confirmed plans to add Activision-Blizzard massive catalogue to the Game Pass service. According to Phil Spencer they plan to, “offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from their catalogue.” That’s an insane pile of games being added to an already stacked service. Hell, I might actually play the new Call of Duty now.
So how are you guys taking this news? Do you think Microsoft can clean up Activision-Blizzard? Do you think Kotick will be gone within the next 6-12 months like I do? Do you think this is good or bad for the industry?