Microsoft announces the acquisition of Activision Blizzard King.

2022-01-19

On Jan 18, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Activision-Blizzard-King (ABK). With some hard-hitting names such as Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and more, this acquisition will certainly add a whole plethora of big IPs that Microsoft will be able to pluck from. 

With Phil Spencer, CEO of Xbox gaming and soon to be Microsoft Gaming CEO, stating that all ABK staff would report to him after the deal is closed, there was much speculation regarding Bobby Kotick’s future. Currently, indications are that Kotick will continue on as head of ABK until the deal completes. 

Microsoft is buying ABK at a premium share price of $95 per share when they were $66 per share at the opening of trade this morning. At an eye-watering $68.7 billion, this acquisition makes Microsoft’s prior buyout of Zenimax look like pocket change. 

ABK has recently been mired in controversy regarding an internal frat-boy culture, with accusations of constant sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination ultimately leading to a lawsuit being filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. This acquisition will undoubtedly lead to Microsoft making all the sounds they need with regards to overhauling ABK’s internal personnel policies and ensuring that fairness ensues. However, as we are all far too familiar with, what a company says is one thing, and oftentimes, what they do is another. 

We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard

Phil Spencer

With this acquisition Microsoft will become the third-largest gaming company by revenue behind Tencent and Sony and as such will potentially attract a lot of antitrust attention. Microsoft, however, has been extremely low-key of late with regards to regulators while similar companies, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google have been under fire. Could this low-key approach allow Microsoft the ability to get this deal past regulators? 

World of Warcraft 2 anyone? Or how about StarCraft 3? This news has set a buzz amongst loyal Blizzard fanbases and prior customers alike. Microsoft is certainly going to capitalize on this and expand the Xbox game pass choices to include ABK products in the future, and this will likely set a future development path for ABK’s largest games, such as World of Warcraft, pushing it even further towards a console release. With Xbox/PC Game Pass soon to become the Netflix of gaming, this certainly sets all PC and Xbox owners in good stead for future content. 

With the deal set to close sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, there is plenty of time for Microsoft to fall foul of the antitrust regulators and end up on their naughty list. 

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Comments

  • Well, they’re certainly going to have one hell of a PR campaign ahead of them. The sexual harassment thing is bad enough, but maybe more problematic is the fact that Activision Blizzard’s product stack looks like a steaming pile of shit right now:

    – WoW: basically dead, game destroyed by dumbing-down + microtransactions
    – Warzone: a shitty game completely infested with hackers to the point where it’s become a joke
    – Legacy Blizzard games: reduced to a bunch of bug-riddled garbage “remasters” that flop

    Diablo 4, I guess? Although it will probably also be shit? Kinda surprising to see Microsoft pay *that* much for these ruined franchises.

    January 20, 2022 at 5:01 AM
    • Carvj94 Ganthrithor

      A reasonable development window and a proper budget is all the various Blizzard franchises need to be successful again. Plus it’d be laughably easy for a small team to fix everything wrong with stuff like Warcraft 3 Reforged. Blizzard got lazy cause WoW was their cash cow for over a decade, and Activision is run by people used to putting in minimal effort by releasing a very slightly improved CoD every year and getting money thrown at them. The PR is gonna be the hardest part I imagine cause even if they just fired everyone but the developers it’ll still haunt the studios for a while.

      Anyways I’m not a fan of market consolidation but I’ll be pretty fu**ing ecstatic if I can finally get Warcraft 4 in the next decade.

      January 20, 2022 at 11:58 PM
      • I’m dying over here: how did Blizzard’s games end up with inadequate budgets? I don’t doubt it (there seems to be no end to the degree to which businesses become mis-managed once they get all big and run by sociopaths) but the whole idea is comical.

        January 22, 2022 at 3:40 AM
  • Prediction: Sony tries to buy EA to stay competitive.

    January 20, 2022 at 8:17 PM