Blizzard, the studio behind Overwatch, Diablo and World of Warcraft, is getting into a new genre with the announcement that it's working on a survival game. It seems the project is in the early stages of development, so don't expect a finished product (or even a splashy trailer) any time soon, but it's notable that the publisher is playing around with fresh mechanics and new worlds. Blizzard's job post about the survival game says it will be "a place full of heroes we have yet to meet, stories yet to be told, and adventures yet to be lived. A vast realm of possibility, waiting to be explored." The studio has confirmed one detail about the project: It'll be available on "PC and console."
Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard Inc., a game development and interactive-entertainment content publisher, for $68.7 billion. Activision Blizzard makes games including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. Microsoft will get Activision Blizzard's nearly 10,000 employees as part of the deal, which was announced on January 18. Microsoft officials are accelerating the growth in the company's gaming business across mobile, PC, console, and cloud, and say it "will provide building blocks for the metaverse." Microsoft also will get global eSports properties via Major League Gaming as part of the transaction. The $68.7 billion deal makes the Activision Blizzard acquisition the largest in Microsoft's history.
SEATTLE – Microsoft plans to buy the powerhouse but troubled video game company Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion, its biggest deal ever and one that places a major bet that people will spend more and more time in the digital world. The blockbuster acquisition, announced Tuesday, would catapult the company into a leading spot in the $175 billion gaming industry. Games on virtually every kind of device, from bulky consoles to smartphones, have gained even greater popularity during the pandemic. Technology companies are swarming around the industry, looking for a bigger share of attention and money from the world's 3 billion gamers. In an industry driven by big franchises, Activision makes some of the most popular titles, including Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
HONG KONG – A unit of Activision Blizzard Inc. has punished a player for expressing support for Hong Kong's protest movement, the latest example of a U.S. company attempting to rein in speech that might displease the Chinese Communist Party. Blizzard Entertainment said it was banning Ng Wai Chung, also known as Blitzchung, from its professional Hearthstone esports competition for a year. Blizzard is also withholding money he had already earned in the company's top-tier Grandmasters tournament, which Ng said in a Twitter message cost him $10,000 of prize earnings. The move was triggered when Ng -- dressed in a gas mask and goggles in defiance of authorities' ban on face masks -- used a slogan in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters during a post-match interview. "After an investigation, we are taking the necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future," Blizzard said in a statement.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. In a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote that "the allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling." Brack wrote that everyone should feel safe at Blizzard and that "it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He noted it requires courage for people to come forward with their stories, and that all claims brought to the company are taken seriously and investigated. "People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community," Brack wrote.