Microsoft agrees to acquire Activision Blizzard

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Microsoft has officially announced that it has "agreed to acquire" Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, for a reported $68.7 billion.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard

Xbox boss Phil Spencer penned a piece on Xbox Wire confirming that an acquisition deal is in place. When completed, Microsoft will induct all the teams from Activision Publishing, 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 under the "Microsoft Gaming" banner. The expectation is that the deal will be finalised before the end of Microsoft's fiscal 2023 year (June 30th, 2023). Of course, during this period the acquisition will need to meet the approval of regulators and pass all antitrust laws.

If completed, Microsoft will own and publish some of the biggest franchises on the planet like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Guitar Hero, and Candy Crush. It will also have access to PlayStation associated IPs like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. Of course, Microsoft will be putting Activision Blizzard games on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass if possible, including "both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalogue." Spencer revealed that Game Pass has 25 million subscribers.

As part of this deal, Microsoft is dealing with the aftermath of claims of widespread sexual harassment levied against Activision Blizzard. These were brought into play by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which brought a lawsuit for promoting a toxic workplace culture against Activision Blizzard. Several high-profile departures of developers and employees have resulted in continued criticism.

As of yet, Microsoft hasn't officially commented on the topic. Until the transaction is finished, Spencer says that Activision Blizzard and Microsoft will operate independently of one another. Then Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer as CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Separately, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said his role in the company will continue:

"As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players," stated spencer. "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."

We are a bit startled by this at TT and the sheer magnitude of it all. We haven't even begun to think of what this means for Sony and PlayStation. Let us know what you think of the deal and what this means for Sony in the comments.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Associate Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation news. He writes about upcoming exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus and PS Studios news, and his favourite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and The Outer Wilds — before an evening swim.