Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7B

Polygon - Tue Jan 18 13:55

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it has purchased Activision Blizzard, publisher of some of the most popular games on the planet (from World of Warcraft to Call of Duty), as well as the studio currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits related to accusations of gender discrimination in its workplace. Xbox boss Phil Spencer will serve as the CEO of Activision Blizzard once the transaction is finalized.

The Wall Street Journal reports the deal is worth an estimated $68.7 billion.

In a blog post about the acquisition, Spencer further noted that Microsoft “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.”

As far as the discrimination lawsuits, Spencer’s blog post and the announcement post from Microsoft made no direct mention of the situation. However, Spencer’s post includes this paragraph about workplace culture: “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.”

In November 2021, after more than 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees signed a letter calling for the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick to resign, Phil Spencer said in an internal email obtained by Bloomberg that Microsoft was “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.” Apparently, that evaluation included an appraisal of Microsoft’s pocketbook, and the possibility that it could afford to purchase Activision Blizzard outright.

The deal will further extend Microsoft’s position in the games industry as a whole. Microsoft’s announcement outlines the huge scope of the purchase:

With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

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