Microsoft completes $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard

In this post:

  • Microsoft has announced the completion of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
  • Implications of the acquisition for Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft’s long-fought legal battle with regulators has finally concluded, paving the way for the completion of its massive $68.7 billion acquisition of game publisher Activision Blizzard. With this acquisition, Microsoft’s Xbox division has expanded its portfolio to include iconic gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush Saga, and Overwatch. These newly acquired gems join Microsoft’s existing intellectual property (IP), which includes popular titles like Minecraft and The Elder Scrolls.

Microsoft takes ownership of Activision Blizzard games

The deal also grants Microsoft ownership of key Activision studios, including Blizzard, Infinity Ward, and King, bringing the total number of game studios under Microsoft’s umbrella to over 23. Xbox boss Phil Spencer celebrated the acquisition, acknowledging the millions of fans who are devoted to Activision, Blizzard, and King games. He emphasized the importance of these franchises and expressed gratitude for having these fans as part of their gaming community. One significant development is that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in his role but will now report directly to Phil Spencer.

This arrangement ensures that Kotick remains in a leadership position within the company, at least until the end of 2023, as mentioned in a blog post from the Activision CEO. Microsoft does not intend to merge these well-established brands into Xbox entirely. Recognizing the weight carried by names like Activision, Blizzard, and King, it’s likely that the firm will continue to utilize these brands as long as they remain valuable and recognizable. Furthermore, the firm has committed to keeping Activision’s flagship Call of Duty franchise available on Sony PlayStation and Nintendo consoles for a minimum of 10 years.

This decision was reached through separate agreements with both rival hardware makers earlier in the year. These agreements were made to alleviate regulatory concerns about potential monopolistic effects arising from the acquisition. This strategy is consistent with Microsoft’s approach after its acquisition of Bethesda in 2021. While Microsoft honored existing PlayStation 5 (PS5) exclusive agreements for games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, it released Starfield and Redfall as Xbox and PC exclusives this year.

Implications of the acquisition for Activision Blizzard

This indicates a trend towards Xbox exclusivity for future Bethesda titles, which may extend to other franchises under Microsoft’s umbrella. Although Microsoft’s intentions regarding exclusivity for most Activision Blizzard titles remain unclear, it is plausible that similar exclusivity arrangements may emerge, potentially leaving PlayStation and Nintendo players without access to some major gaming franchises. In an announcement, Phil Spencer stated that Xbox is actively working on integrating Activision, Blizzard, and King games into its subscription service, Game Pass, and other platforms.

He promised that more details would be shared in the coming months. Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s subscription service that offers access to a library of over 100 games for a monthly fee. While major titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch 2, and Diablo IV won’t join the service this year, Microsoft intends to introduce Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass beginning in 2024, marking a significant expansion of the Game Pass library. Additionally, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has led to an interesting partnership with Ubisoft.

Ubisoft now possesses perpetual cloud streaming rights for all Activision Blizzard games, including Call of Duty. This allows Ubisoft to include current Activision Blizzard games in its game subscription service, Ubisoft+. Ubisoft can also license streaming access to other cloud gaming providers, presenting a unique opportunity in the world of cloud gaming. The deal also secures cloud streaming rights for Ubisoft for the next 15 years for Activision Blizzard games. This comprehensive agreement was part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to acquire Activision Blizzard while addressing regulatory concerns.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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