In a stunning development, Microsoft today said that it would acquire gaming behemoth Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. If approved by regulators, it should be the biggest corporate acquisition in tech industry history.
“Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world,” said Phil Spencer, who now goes by the title CEO, Microsoft Gaming. “We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across 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, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.”
Mr. Spencer also revealed that Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service now has over 25 million subscribers, and that Microsoft will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as it can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, including both new and catalog titles. “The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices you already own,” Spencer added. “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.
For now, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. But once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report directly to Spencer. So that answers one question: Activision Blizzard will not be operated as an independent entity.
Wow. I’m going to need some time to let this one sink in. But it’s fair to say that, over the past year or so, Xbox has gone from a near also-ran to an industry juggernaut. And that it’s now Sony’s move: perhaps it can look into acquiring EA.