Note: Activision Blizzard is still under investigation by the state of California for serious harassment charges. CEO Bobby Kotick is alleged to have known about such actions within his company – and performed some himself – and shielded the perpetrators from consequences.
Here’s some huge – and shocking – news to start your Tuesday off with: Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard. If you were hoping for change at the World of Warcraft developer, this may be how you’re getting it. Admittedly, it’s the most surprising way possible.
What exactly is happening? Today, Microsoft announced plans to purchase ABK, bringing the company’s library of current titles and approximately 10,000 person staff under the Microsoft banner – and making Microsoft the third-largest gaming company money-wise. The other two are Tencent (are you surprised?) and Sony. Of course, this also means that Microsoft will have a much broader online, multiplayer gaming presence than before, and they’ve now branched into mobile gaming in a way they hadn’t before.
According to a report on CNBC, the deal, which hasn’t gone through just yet, will cost Microsoft $68.7 billion – nearly ten times what they paid for Bethesda. The whole thing seems like an incredibly good deal for the ABK shareholder side of things, as stock actually went up thirty-seven percent prior to the deal being announced. Microsoft’s dropped a bit more than two percent.
If you’re wondering what all of this means for Bobby Kotick. Current plans are for him to stay as Activision Blizzard’s CEO as the deal goes through. Statements about his exact future after that are vague, only indicating that Activision Blizzard will report to Phil Spencer, but don't specifically detail Bobby Kotick's role at that time. In the meantime, the companies will continue to operate independently. It will be interesting to see where things go from here. It’s unlikely ABK employees will forget everything that’s been happening. (Edit: The New York Times' Karen Weise spoke with Kotick, who declined to clarify his position post-deal, instead stating that he will "be available as needed".)
Just spoke with Bobby Kotick, Activision’s CEO, and he declined to say he will be CEO after the deal closes. "Post close I will be available as needed," he said@Kellen_Browning @andrewrsorkin and I will be updating our story here with that and more 👇https://t.co/hXPqLGKAqV
— Karen Weise (@KYWeise) January 18, 2022
Of course, this is good news for Xbox fans who will have "as many Activision Blizzard games" as possible available on Game Pass. Microsoft also intends to use this purchase to push forward in the cloud gaming space as they strive to take on Meta's (Facebook) advances.
Edit 2: A letter from Bobby Kotick to the ABK staff was shared on the Activision Blizzard site following the announcement today. It's your basic, "Here's what's happening and why it's great", communication to staff. There's a bit of looking at the past and plenty of discussion about the future as well as why they chose to partner with Microsoft. It also notes that the transaction could take until June 2023 to complete, during which time ABK will continue to operate separately.
About the Author
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various hobby sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.
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