In an announcement that has rocked the gaming industry, Microsoft has announced it plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. In an announcement posted to the Xbox Wire, Phil Spencer(CEO at Microsoft Gaming) confirmed the seismic news in a deal that's worth an eye-watering $68.7 billion. Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction, inclusive of Activision Blizzard's net cash That's almost 10x more than Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda in 2021, for what it's worth.
Once the deal goes through, Microsoft will own the IP for Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft and many, many more going forward. Who knew that'd we'd all live to see the day that Crash Bandicoot would become an Xbox mascot. Wild.
The deal is not finalised yet, and there's no word on when it'll be all tied up. "Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently," Spencer notes in the press release. "Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming."
Spencer included a diargam showing the planned structure of the company once the acquisition goes through. You can check it out below. Some of the listed companies as part of the aquisition include: 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. Whether or not games like future Call of Duty titles and so on will come to PlayStation from here on out reamins to be seen.
This news comes, of course, as Activision Blizzard is embroiled in a messy (and very public) discrimination and harrassment lawsuit brought by the state of California. To date, this lawsuit has resulted in the departure of several key figures as part of an initiative to clean house. Wheter Microsoft will address these issues directly in the future – or depose current Activision Blizzard head, Bobby Kotick – remains to be seen. It's worth noting Kotick does not make an appearance in the chart above, though.
Per Activision Blizzard's own announcement, it's confrimed that Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, for now. He and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company's culture and accelerate business growth," says the release. "Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming".
Back on the Microsoft announcement, there's a thinly-veiled reference to the ongoing situation in the release though. Per Spencer: "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".
But what does all this mean for you, the gamer, in the short term? For a start, a bumper crop of Xbox Game Pass goodies is on the horizon. "Upon close, "[When the deal closes], we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog," says Spencer. "We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass."
Expect to hear a lot more about this deal – undoubtedly one of the biggest gaming has ever seen – in the days and weeks to come. We've published a list of dream games we'd love to see come from this acquisition, ranging from a new Warcraft RTS by World’s Edge to Tim Schafer’s Spyro the Dragon, which you can read right now!