May 24, 2022

Microsoft snaps up Activision Blizzard for $69 billion 🆕

Microsoft begins the year with an exceptional acquisition. The creator of the Xbox is falling into his hands Activision Blizzard for the tidy sum of 68.7 billion dollars. Next, the acquisition of Bethesda in 2020 for 7.5 billion appears very small, when it was already an earthquake at the time.

Activision Blizzard is none other than one of the largest video game publishers in the world, counting among its franchises Call of Duty, Diablo, Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk, Overwatch, but also Candy Crush, since there are some must for all tastes.

Microsoft specifies in its press release that Activision Blizzard will continue to operate independently, with Bobby Kotick still at its helm. Nevertheless, Phil Spencer, the boss of Microsoft Gaming, intends to set up synergies very quickly. Thus, he promises that as many games as possible will be included in Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, strategic offers which today have 25 million subscribers.

Obviously the question of exclusives arises: will the future Call of Duty desert the PlayStation? “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on various platforms and we plan to continue supporting these communities in the future”, says Phil Spencer. To see what will really happen when Microsoft will notably reserve Starfield and Redfall, the next big productions from Bethesda, for Xbox and PC. Phil Spencer also sees in this war prize a means of accelerating on the cloud gaming as well as in mobile gaming. Soon a skin Halo for Candy Crush or a meeting between Call of Duty and Doom?

While Activision Blizzard has been going through a serious social crisis for months against a backdrop of accusations of harassment and sexual assault, Phil Spencer assures us of his commitment to “the treatment of each person with dignity and respect. »

From an economic point of view, the integration of the publisher will make Microsoft the third largest video game company in terms of revenue, behind Tencent and Sony – a third place “only” which could be used as an argument when the time comes. time to get the green light from the regulatory authorities.

The sum spent, 68.7 billion dollars, is obviously a record, even for this company which is not reluctant to sign large checks. LinkedIn, which until then had been Microsoft’s biggest expense, had cost “only” $26.2 billion. Phil Spencer had warned that he was still thirsty for studios when acquisitions had already multiplied in recent years – there will be 30 in total with the new operation – but the fact remains that the purchase of Activision Blizzard is a huge surprise. This is quite simply the biggest acquisition ever made in the new technologies sector. It narrowly outpaces Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2015.

Finally, a 2022 press release wouldn’t be a 2022 press release without the word “metaverse.” It is Satya Nadella, the big boss of Microsoft, who sticks to it: “Gaming is the fastest growing and most exciting entertainment category across all platforms today and will play a fundamental role in the development of metaverse platforms. »

Faced with the ogre Microsoft, Sony does not sit idly by. The creator of the PlayStation has also strengthened its creative teams in recent years by joining the services of Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man, etc.), Bluepoint Games (responsible for the remakes of Shadow of the Colossus, Demon’s Souls …) and other studios, but nothing on the scale of a Bethesda and even less of an Activision Blizzard. After this deal, everything seemed possible. How far will consolidation go in the video game industry?

Update 6:40 p.m. — The fate of Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision, seems sealed. According to Wall Street Journal, he will be landed (or he will resign) once the deal will be completed, which pushes us back to at least next year.