Microsoft set to acquire Activision Blizzard

By Sean Carey,
In news that nobody saw coming, Microsoft has announced that it's "agreed to acquire" the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard

Xbox chief Phil Spencer broke the news over on Xbox Wire. Once the deal is finalised, Microsoft will welcome 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 into the fold. The deal is expected to be finalised sometime during Microsoft's fiscal 2023 year ending June 30th, 2023, if the acquisition meets the approval of regulators.

Microsoft will soon own and publish massive franchises such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Guitar Hero, and Candy Crush. Microsoft will also bring as many Activision Blizzard games as it can to Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, including "both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog." Spencer notes that Game Pass now has over 25 million subscribers.

According to Spencer, the acquisition will also "accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own." The Xbox boss points out that Activision Blizzard games are on other platforms and that Microsoft is planning to continue to support those communities in the future.

Last summer, claims of widespread sexual harassment were levied against Activision Blizzard. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing brought a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for enabling and promoting a toxic workplace culture, which saw several high-profile developers and employees leave their positions at the company. Microsoft hasn't commented on how it will deal with the issue, but Spencer says that until the transaction is finalised, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft will operate independently. Once the deal has gone through, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer as CEO of Microsoft Gaming. In a separate statement, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said he will continue in his role at the company until the deal is finalised.

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

What do you make of the news? Give us your thoughts down in the comments!
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Sean graduated from Southampton Solent University with a first-class honours degree in Journalism, which he uses to keep TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies topped up with the latest gaming and industry news. When not scouring the web for the latest big story, you’ll find him tearing up the streets in Forza Horizon 5, or failing miserably in Call of Duty: Warzone.