What Xbox Will Get from Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Courtesy Xbox

Microsoft has rocked the gaming and business world with the announcement they will acquire Activision Blizzard for an industry record $68.7 billion. This merger comes less than a year after Microsoft purchased Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda Studios. With this acquisition, Microsoft now owns IPs such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Overwatch. Microsoft will also acquire multiple studios and subsidiaries. Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Major League Gaming, and Candy Crush developer King. These add to the long list of studios already owned my Microsoft. For these studios to join the group, we must be patient for this exciting news to really take effect. The sale will probably not finalize until some time during the 2023 fiscal year.

Both companies released statements on their websites announcing the deal. On the xbox website Phil Spencer, CEO of Xbox and Microsoft Gaming, spoke of Microsoft’s “mission to extend joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet…As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.”

In an email to his employees, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick shared his excitement for the future. He will apparently receive a $400 million payout to step down once the merger is complete. That is 400 million reasons for Kotick to be excited about the future. In a tweet by Jason Schreier, we learn that the CEO is not the only one excited for the future. Schreier wrote that employees are full of “cautious optimism about the merger and Kotick being gone” but also “worried about layoffs” despite a company-wide email in which Kotick reassured employees Microsoft wants them there.

Outside of the business aspect of the deal, the marriage of these two companies has serious implications for the gaming industry. Two of the most successful game franchises in Call of Duty and World of Warcraft now join the all-star lineup of franchises that fall under the Xbox umbrella. There also are other franchises we could see revived because of this merger. Spencer told the Washington Post, “I was looking at the IP list, I mean let’s go! ‘King’s Quest,’ ‘Guitar Hero’…’HeXen.” We also cannot forget games like Tony Hawk, Starcraft, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot, titles that have a long history.

Games like these could easily appear on Game Pass once the sale is complete. When Microsoft closed the Bethesda deal we saw 20+ games land on the service. With Activision Blizzard’s enormous library from all generations of Xbox and PC, we could see a flood of titles hit Xbox and PC Game Pass. We also have to wonder what games would start releasing the subscription service on day one.

With so many assets switching hands, we still have a lot of questions. Could we see Call of Duty 2022 hit Game Pass at launch? Will it still be a yearly launch? How will Xbox handle World of Warcraft subscriptions? Will it come to console? Will games only published and not developed by Activision, like From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, be part of any deal? Which games will be console exclusives? Will Call of Duty become Xbox only? Phil Spencer answers that last question for us.

This deal will change the entire landscape of the gaming industry. In fact, it already has. Just one day after the announcement, Sony stocks dropped due to mounting pressure to match Microsoft’s aggressiveness. While we may have to wait a year before we see the impacts, the future looks very bright for Microsoft.

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