By Yosef Scher
Microsoft announced on January 18, 2022 their acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a prominent video gaming company, for $68.7 billion. Although Microsoft will not technically own Activision Blizzard until this July (2022) at the earliest and by the summer of 2023 at the latest, Microsoft’s decision to buy Activision Blizzard is “the largest acquisition in the gaming industry ever.” Not only that, but this deal will make Microsoft “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue,” falling only behind Tencent and Sony. In an age where gaming is so ubiquitous, it is not surprising for Microsoft to make this deal with Activision in order to help their gaming market grow.
In addition to all the video games that Microsoft has already created, including numerous best-selling games like Age of Empires and Halo, Microsoft now has the rights to extremely popular video games like Overwatch, Warcraft, Diablo, Candy Crush, and Call of Duty. The hope is that these games and future games which Microsoft and Activision will co-produce will generate plenty of revenue for Microsoft.
While Activision is being acquired, Microsoft still wants Activision’s staff to continue creating new games and game content for them. As such, the Activision staff will continue to create playable content and receive additional help from Microsoft’s employees and tech experts.
Although some may argue that Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, made this deal hastily to avoid being removed from the board after he failed “to make the company’s board aware of allegations of rape and other serious misconduct,” Kotick claims otherwise. While talking to a local news reporter, Kotick said: “[t]he combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”
Like Kotick, Microsoft Gaming CEO, Phil Spencer, is thrilled to have made this deal believing that Activision and Microsoft can “build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.” To elaborate on this last point, Microsoft wants to expand its gaming presence on mobile devices, since “nearly 95% of all players globally enjoy gaming on mobile” devices, where people can “enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like Halo and Warcraft, virtually anywhere they want.”
Although obtaining the rights to all of Activision’s games benefits Microsoft immensely, Microsoft believes that Activision can help them become the top contender in the gaming industry by developing Microsoft’s Game Pass. Currently, Microsoft offers two Game Pass subscription services: Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Both passes allow subscribers to play various games that get updated every month. Before acquiring Activision, Microsoft already had over “25 million subscribers” between Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. However, with “Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchise,” Microsoft hopes that “Game Pass [will become] one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry.”
As one looks to the future of gaming, one must wonder what Microsoft and Activision may develop next. Rumor has it that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard may give Microsoft the necessary tools to expand and advance within the metaverse beyond our imagination. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see what the future of the gaming industry brings.