Microsoft has announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, or just under $69 billion. Thin. I can’t even imagine that amount of money, especially with the agreement documentation showing that this figure is paid entirely in cash. If I didn’t think Phil Spencer was a big money player before, I certainly do now. This deal is huge, and easily the biggest of its kind we’ve ever seen in the industry. Seriously, there is no competition.
When Microsoft acquired Bethesda a few years ago for a much smaller sum, many of us saw it as a game-changing acquisition. It’s not yet, but games take a long time to make, and for now, Bethesda’s greatest hits are still on PlayStation. In the case of Deathloop, even head to Sony as a timed exclusive. But it was still a massive shift, seeing a number of titles become exclusive to Microsoft platforms while ushering in a future where Starfield, Fallout and other such properties would never see the light of day on PlayStation again. It thinned the playing field in ways we will never forget.
Compared to Activision, and with no disrespect to Bethesda, these are small potatoes. The publisher, which will soon operate under the Microsoft umbrella, consists of several developers and properties on the edge of history. Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Guitar Hero and so many more will soon be Xbox and PC exclusives, a monopolistic move that further reduces the number of high rollers in the the industry as things further consolidate in large-scale services.
In the Xbox Wire announcement post, Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has made it clear that the company aims to add as much of Activision’s back catalog to Xbox Game Pass as possible, referencing current blockbusters and forgotten classics that the publisher has often held hostage to the Xbox Game Pass. bias of remasters or deeming them unnecessary because they fail to reap the biggest profits. That will likely change under Microsoft, whose vision for gaming seems far more forward-thinking and consumer-friendly than anything Activision has ever done before. Part of me worries that Xbox Game Pass is getting too big, and it’s now reaching a point that PlayStation will find it impossible to compete with unless it seeks to make a similar acquisition, which I’m not. sure he will – it just doesn’t. have the capital that Microsoft needs to throw around. But it goes so much further than the money needed to achieve it.
If you’ve been paying attention to Spirit of the Game for the past few months, you’ll know that Activision Blizzard is currently in the throes of a lawsuit in the state of California over years of toxic culture, sexual harassment, and several other issues that have been revealed. . Following this, Activision’s initial denials, and subsequent allegations about Bobby Kotick’s behavior, TheGamer is not covering his games, only reporting on the lawsuit as it progresses and the cultural aspects of the company that turn out. Now the situation will hopefully begin to change, and many are already seeing this acquisition as a vision of hope for the future. TheGamer’s position, aside from covering this story, remains the same.
Kotick will retain his position as CEO of Activision Blizzard for the time being, but will now report directly to Phil Spencer and will likely be placed in a position where implementing a change in company culture and righting wrongs will be a primary concern. I wish they kicked his ass sooner rather than later, but given the obscene redundancy costs involved, that’s probably not a realistic possibility in the near future. So we have to be patient and hope that Microsoft management understands the seriousness of such an acquisition and the broader implications that come with it. Time will tell, but aside from becoming the Disney of Gaming with all the talent it now has, it could be a step forward in transforming Activision into a company that isn’t beholden to a past. defined by toxicity and abuse.
This deal isn’t just significant in terms of monetary value, but in how it changes the landscape of gaming in ways we’ll come to terms with for years to come. Activision Blizzard has always been considered one of the big players, with Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch and several other titles in its portfolio attracting billions in revenue that will now go directly to Microsoft. It will be fascinating to see if this deal will ever be salvaged, or if Xbox just places its bets on a horse that does more than just make a profit, but establishes an unshakeable foundation in the service-based market that will soon burst into the metaverse. . Half of us don’t even know what that phrase means right now, and hopefully it all blows up, but so many companies – especially Microsoft – are preparing for its arrival.
It can be hard to view the game as a cohesive mass of a few big corporations holding all the cards as a positive thing, especially when creativity is increasingly stifled by the retreading of old ideas in search of guaranteed profits. From an artistic standpoint, I have to respect Microsoft for its growing roster of games and its willingness to take risks on smaller projects and bigger blockbusters alongside the usual safe bets. Activision Blizzard is the definition of playing it safe, and has been for years, so perhaps we’ll see its production change and evolve in the years to come, while ensuring that its culture slowly but surely improves as as the toxic numbers depart and the more progressive. get into deserving roles. This acquisition is just paving the cracks, acting as the start of something new that could make this industry a better place. Or it could accomplish the opposite, we just don’t know.
Xbox in particular has spent the past few years gaining traction, and this acquisition feels like pushing that goodwill to breaking point. The value it presents to the end user is undeniable, and the potential creativity it can bring to games is immeasurable, but it also highlights them as the corporate giant they are and always will be. . You can’t have it both ways, and hopefully we’re not nearing an ultimatum where Microsoft learns this the hard way.
Next: Chickadee Becomes First Studio To Join Animation Guild Outside Of Los Angeles
If you thought Facebook had too many ads, wait until you’re in the metaverse.
About the Author