On Tuesday morning, Microsoft announced that it would acquire video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Activision Blizzard is one of the most prolific publishers in the industry, and the acquisition includes a number of notable franchises, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. Following the acquisition, Microsoft says that it will become “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”
Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard is home to a number of teams, all of which will join Microsoft. This includes Blizzard Entertainment, Activision Publishing, Beenox, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch.
Microsoft says the two companies will continue to operate independently until the deal closes. After the sale has been completed, Microsoft wants to bring as many Activision Blizzard games as possible to Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. That could be over a year away, though. Microsoft says that it expects the deal to close in “fiscal year 2023,” which ends next June. We could be waiting for up to 18 months for the acquisition to be complete and the games to arrive.
“The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in a statement on Tuesday. “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”
Acquisition in a time of controversy
This deal comes amid a firestorm of controversy surrounding Activision. In July 2021, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the publisher for creating a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” Many employees have since shared their own experiences with harassment and discrimation at the company. Dozens have left the company in the wake of the chaos.
Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO for the time being. Once the deal is done, “the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer,” the company says. This seems to imply that Kotick will no longer be with the company once Microsoft finishes acquiring it.