Over the last couple of years, we have seen Xbox evolve and expand its products and services by acquiring various developers and studios under the Microsoft Gaming umbrella. In a stunning and exciting move, Microsoft has confirmed its intent to acquire triple-A publisher Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal valued at USD 68.7 bn. According to Microsoft, this acquisition will make it the “third-largest gaming company by revenue” behind Tencent and Sony.
Today is a historic moment. We are excited to announce that the world-renowned franchises and talented people at @ATVI_AB will be joining Team Xbox! ?
Once the transaction between the two companies has been complete, Xbox plans to offer as many Activision Blizzard games as possible within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. This includes new and upcoming titles as well as titles from Activision Blizzard’s incredible history across all of its brands such as 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.
Phil Spencer had this to say on the matter, “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.”
It is worth noting that this acquisition follows a tumultuous year for Activision Blizzard, which has been blighted by lawsuits alleging discrimination and mistreatment of women in the workplace, forcing the company to terminate problematic employees and expand its ethics and compliance team. These allegations and subsequent lawsuits have seen Activision Blizzard’s shares fall almost 30% since it was sued by the State of California in July of 2021, making it an attractive target for acquisition. Without mentioning the scandalous circumstances specifically, Spencer assured Xbox fans that as a company, Microsoft is committed to pursuing “inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players,” a reassuring statement that continues, “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.”
As previously mentioned, we can only speculate until the transaction has officially concluded. Still, there is no denying that this, indeed one of the most significant dealings in gaming history, is an exciting one. We assume (or at least hope) that it will be similar to Xbox’s recent acquisition of Zenimax-Bethesda. If this is the case, we will see most Activision Blizzard titles become available via Game Pass almost immediately, with promises to add upcoming releases to the subscription service as soon as they launch. It would be great to see games like Call of Duty and Overwatch added to the Game Pass library, but more importantly, we would like to see an improvement in the workplace culture at Activision Blizzard, so that employees feel safe, seen and empowered.