Is This the Biggest Acquisition in Gaming History?

Credit: Xbox
News broke yesterday of Microsoft’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Wait a minute. I had already edited a post to go up today that was going to be on my free game acquisitions during December, but that will be delayed until Saturday. Just browsing through the news headlines, I came to find that Microsoft is slated to acquire Activision Blizzard. To put this in perspective, Activision Blizzard is the company that publishes Call of Duty titles, World of WarcraftCandy CrushOverwatch, and the Diablo series. This is ridiculous and mind-boggling. I thought the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda (Doom, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein), was huge. This is much bigger. You’re talking about one of the most lucrative gaming brands in Call of Duty and online gaming subscription services in World of Warcraft now being under Microsoft’s umbrella. This is possibly the biggest acquisition in video gaming to date. 

If somebody had casually told me this had happened, I wouldn’t have believed it. I know that Microsoft has been aggressive in acquisitions over the past few years. Wow. The Activision Blizzard deal is estimated to be more than $70 billion. This is much more than the $7.5 billion Microsoft paid for ZeniMax. That is a lot of money and we have to remember that Activision Blizzard has been one of the most successful gaming companies in the modern gaming age. Yet in the past few years, the company has been under increased scrutiny due to cases involving mistreatment of employees and how the company has been run as a whole. You can check out a timeline of events on that will get you caught up with all the controversy that has taken place. 

Credit: Activision Blizzard
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has led to speculation about the future of its CEO Bobby Kotick.

Early estimates are showing an expectation of the deal closing by the summer of 2023. There were confusing reports regarding the future of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick as to whether he will remain in his current position with the company once the deal is completed. IGN cited the Wall Street Journal as reporting that Kotick will leave following the completion of the acquisition, according to their sources. As much negative public attention the company has received in the past couple of years, it probably would be wise to not have Kotick continue in that same position. But in the meantime, Kotick will still serve as Activision Blizzard’s CEO leading up to the deal’s completion.

So what does this mean from the gaming side? Well, there’s already the thought that Game Pass is about to get a lot more interesting in 2023 as there is the possibility of seeing Activision Blizzard titles such as Call of Duty being offered to subscribers on the platform in a similar way to how Bethesda’s library became available before. This also provides opportunities for Xbox exclusives down the road, which can help to boost the profile of the Xbox Series X/S. The console continues to trail behind the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 5 in the console market. Could this acquisition be the one that finally propels Microsoft forward?

Credit: Xbox
Will Activision Blizzard’s library get the same treatment as Bethesda’s did on Game Pass?

Even with the disparity in console rankings against its competitors, Microsoft itself is a powerhouse of a company. That is the reason why it has the capital to make these moves. In many ways, the company’s assets put it in a prime position to possibly change the gaming landscape over the next decade. What it will come down to is whether or not the investments are good ones. There’s no doubt that gaining Activision Blizzard is a big, bold move.

I’m still in a state of shock even as I type this. Microsoft owning Activision Blizzard was just something I didn’t see coming. And that’s to the advantage of Microsoft. Sony and Nintendo better keep their eyes and ears open. Microsoft is looking to become a serious contender again in the console market. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about Microsoft acquiring Electronic Arts next.

-LandoRigs (TVGA)


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