What Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard means for gamers

Updated on 01/19/2022 at 16:57

  • Microsoft wants to buy Activision Blizzard for almost 70 billion US dollars.
  • Which game brands are changing hands and do PlayStation fans now have to worry about their favorite series?
  • The biggest takeover in gaming history and its consequences at a glance.

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The biggest deal in gaming history is looming: Microsoft wants to take over Activision Blizzard – for almost 70 billion US dollars. What is the scope of the merger of the two tech giants, which studios and game series are involved, what does it all mean for PlayStation, Nintendo and PC gamers, what is happening to the controversial Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and what could prevent the purchase – an overview.

Are “Call of Duty”, “Diablo” and “Co.” Xbox exclusive soon?

As early as autumn 2020, Microsoft bought Bethesda, a respected game manufacturer including all affiliated studios and brands – for a comparatively “cheap” USD 7.5 billion. The questions that gaming fans asked themselves at the time came up again after the takeover of Activision Blizzard: Do fans of “Call of Duty”, “Diablo” and Co. now have to buy an Xbox? Will Microsoft release many upcoming titles exclusively for Windows PC and its consoles?

In a first conversation with “Bloomberg” Xbox boss Phil Spencer is relatively clear on these questions: “I say to players who play Activision Blizzard games on Sony’s platform: It is not our intention to pull the communities away from this platform.”

In announcing the deal, Microsoft made it clear that “Activision Blizzard’s games will be played on a variety of platforms” and that it plans to “continue to support these communities in the future.”

Nevertheless, these sometimes vague statements should be treated with caution. Even after the takeover of Bethesda, Microsoft announced something similar, only to row back later and communicate an “Xbox first” rule, according to which titles like “Starfield” or “The Elder Scrolls 6” might appear first on PC and Xbox. Exclusive content for PlayStation gamers, as has always been the case with “Call of Duty”, should certainly be a thing of the past.

Which brands does Microsoft buy into?

“Call of Duty”, “World of Warcraft”, “Overwatch” and “Candy Crush” are always mentioned as examples of Activision Blizzard’s huge brand portfolio. This overview shows which popular titles will also be available from Microsoft in the future.

  • “Assault Heroes”
  • “Black Thorn”
  • “Bubble Witch Saga”
  • “Cabela” games (off road racing, hunting simulators)
  • “Call of Duty”
  • “Candy Crush Saga”
  • “Crash Bandicoot”
  • “Dark Reign”
  • “Diablo”
  • “Empire Earth”
  • “Farm Heroes Saga”
  • “Gabriel Knight”
  • “Geometry Wars”
  • “Guitar Hero”
  • “gun”
  • “Hearthstone”
  • “Witches”
  • “King’s Quest”
  • “overwatch”
  • “pit fall”
  • “Police Quest”
  • “Quest for Glory”
  • “Rock N’ Roll Racing”
  • “Skylanders”
  • “Soldier of Fortune”
  • “Space Quest”
  • “Spyro”
  • “StarCraft”
  • “SWAT”
  • “The Lost Vikings”
  • “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skaters”
  • “Warcraft”
  • “zork”

Which studios will soon be part of the Xbox family?

A number of first-class development studios are affiliated with Activision Blizzard – an overview:

  • Beenox (“Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled”)
  • Blizzard Entertainment (“Diablo”, “Warcraft”, “Overwatch”)
  • Demoware
  • Digital Legends
  • High Moon Studios (“Deadpool”, “Transformers”)
  • Infinity Ward (“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”)
  • King (“Candy Crush Saga”)
  • Major League Gaming
  • radical entertainment
  • Raven Software (“Call of Duty”)
  • Sledgehammer Games (“Call of Duty: Vanguard”)
  • Toys for Bob (“Crash Bandicoot 4”, “Skylanders”, “Spyro”)
  • Treyarch (“Call of Duty Black Ops”)

What else could stand in the way of the gigantic deal?

The takeover is not yet done. The relevant supervisory boards at Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have approved the deal. However, Activision Blizzard’s shareholders still need to give their blessing, which seems more than likely given Microsoft’s generous offer.

Finally, the US regulatory authorities, including the antitrust authorities, must review and approve the purchase. If all traffic lights are green, the takeover should be completed in fiscal year 2023.

What does this mean for the gaming industry?

The takeover will make Microsoft the third largest game manufacturer in the world – behind Sony and Tencent. However, the takeover makes it clear that no expense or effort will be spared to become number one.

On top of that, they want to be prepared for the future: “Today, gaming is the most dynamic and exciting entertainment category on all platforms and will play a key role in the development of the Metaverse,” commented Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, on the mega deal.

“We’re investing heavily in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new gaming era that puts players and developers first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

Activision Blizzard: What’s Happening to Bobby Kotick?

With the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft not only brings numerous gaming brands into the house, but also a lot of problems. The publisher is currently being sued for discrimination, sexual assault and poor working conditions.

CEO Bobby Kotick is also partly responsible for the toxic climate in the company. It is still unclear what will happen to the controversial Activision Blizzard boss. Officially, he should remain in office for the time being and report to Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

However, it is rumored that Kotick could sweeten his departure with a $300 million settlement.
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