“Holy Crap! Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard!” I screamed out loud to my daughter as she ate her breakfast before school. She did not share my enthusiasm and was annoyed that I yelled over her cartoons.
I could not believe these words when I read them. I had to read several other sources, including Phil Spencer’s blog post, before it really hit me. I don’t know about you, but I have been skeptical about purchasing recent Activision Blizzard games due to current controversies. Maybe, just maybe, Xbox is the Super Hero Activision Blizzard needs right now.
Here is the breakdown
Head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, has revealed that Microsoft agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard via the Xbox Wire blog. Activision Blizzard is the publisher for some truly massive franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Diablo.
This surprise move by Microsoft comes less than a year after the acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media in March of 2021 for $7.5 billion. When the ink dries, all Activision Blizzard games and properties will be under the umbrella of Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios.
“Holy Moly” were my words as I retweeted Phil Spencer's Tweet. And here I was thinking the Bethesda purchase was huge.
“Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming,” says Spencer.
Meaning effectively, after the deal has been finalized, Spencer will oversee all of Activision Blizzard's games. This may allow many to breathe a sigh of relief. Hopefully, it will turn things around for what was a lot of negativity for the publishing giant and their CEO Bobby Kotick due to allegations of sexual harassment. Spencer had recently stated that Xbox was reevaluating its relationship with Activision Blizzard. Who knew this is what he meant?
To The Rescue
Given the state of Activision Blizzard’s public view, this makes me wonder if a deal like this would have ever happened otherwise? Is Microsoft bailing them out or saving them from themselves?
I see this as both. Activision Blizzard is in trouble, their stock is down, and they are experiencing a lot of negativity. I feel Microsoft stepping in can help Activision Blizzard from being their own worst enemy and clean up their mess.
With the stocks down, this is a good time for Microsoft to get ahold of some of the largest IPs in gaming and keep them from falling prey to the potential Mount Doom of death they may be facing.
Personally, I hope this creates a better culture for the employees at Activision Blizzard. There are hundreds if not thousands of passionate employees across Activision Blizzard creating incredible experiences. After reading about employee walkouts and employee layoffs, I had lost some faith in the company responsible for some of my favorite games. It brought me to the point of questioning whether or not to buy games from the publisher. At the same time, I wanted to support the people pouring their souls into making the games.
Phil Spencer has brought tremendous change to Xbox and its brand since he took over as head of Xbox in 2014. You cannot deny that Xbox has come a long way since then, and Game Pass now has over 25 million subscribers, which will now include Activision Blizzard games. Phil Spencer and his team at Microsoft will ideally bring about a massive culture change to Activision Blizzard and create a better, more positive work environment for its employees.
Whether you like it or not, Xbox is on a roll right now, and Game Pass is crushing it. You can read our Head Soup Man Drew Lewis’s article Pop-Culture Predictions #1, where he discusses why he believes the Xbox will outsell the PS5 in 2022. This big news may be the nail in that coffin.
|All of the major IPs that will come under Xbox|
“Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.” - Phil Spencer.
The deal will be for $68.7 billion, according to The Verge. Purchases of this size take time, and Microsoft does not expect it to finalize until the end of the fiscal year 2023. Possibly as early as July, Activision Blizzard will start reporting to Xbox, so we may have a while to wait before we see Game Pass full of CODs.
Including last year's grab of Bethesda, I see this as a move on Microsoft's part in an attempt to be the largest western developer in the world, much like Sony and its dominance on the Eastern market.
Are you excited by this news? Or do you see this as the beginning of a Blade Runner style dystopian and cyberpunk future?