In 2016 Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion and that was the biggest acquisition the company had made, until now. The latest acquisition of Activision Blizzard for the total of $68.7 billion is by far the biggest Microsoft has made.
Upon the closure of the transaction, expected to happen in 2023, Microsoft has said Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass will gain as many Activision Blizzard games as possible. Activision Blizzard is known for its hit games such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft and more.
Alongside the announcement, Microsoft also revealed that Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass now have over 25 million subscribers.
Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming has said:
“The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard 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. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”
In recent times Activision Blizzard has gained attention for sexual harassment claims – the company has been sued by DFEH for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment”. Microsoft has not revealed any information as to what will change regarding this issue, however, Phil Spencer said “”Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming”, meaning it appears current CEO Bobby Kotick will not continue beyond this date.
Phil Spencer also said:
“As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. 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.”
Activision Blizzard is not the first large game developer/publisher Microsoft has acquired – the company also purchased Bethesda in 2021 for $7.5 billion. The acquisition of Bethesda led to other game studios joining Xbox under the ZeniMax Media band, these include:
These studios are known for hugely popular games such as: Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein, Rune II, The Evil Within, GhostWire: Tokyo, Dishonored, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
Until the transction is closed Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.