Collaborating Authors

Microsoft consolidating the video game industry is bad for everyone


It was cute at first. When Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage at E3 2018 and announced the acquisition of five notable studios – Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games and The Initiative – the air inside the Microsoft Theater turned electric. It felt like the company was righting a wrong in its business plan and finally building an internal roster of exciting games that it could offer exclusively on Xbox platforms. You know, a few friends to keep Master Chief company. Today's announcement that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, the largest third-party publisher in the video game industry, doesn't feel as harmless.

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard in $69BN metaverse bet

Al Jazeera

Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. in a $68.7 billion deal, uniting two of the biggest forces in video games to create the world's third-biggest gaming company. In its largest purchase ever, Microsoft will pay $95 a share in cash for one of the most legendary gaming publishers, known for titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft but which is also grappling with a cultural upheaval over its treatment of women. Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick will continue to serve in that role only until the deal closes, a person familiar with the deal said. It's unclear what position, if any, he would take afterward. Once the transaction is completed, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, who was promoted along with the deal to CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

Microsoft will buy Activision Blizzard, betting $70 billion on the future of games

The Japan Times

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.

Activision Blizzard earnings miss estimates after Microsoft deal

The Japan Times

Activision Blizzard Inc. reported earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates just weeks after Microsoft Corp. announced its $69 billion acquisition of the video game publisher. Adjusted revenue fell 18% to $2.49 billion in the fourth quarter, Activision Blizzard said in a statement Thursday. Analysts had expected $2.84 billion, according to an average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.25, compared with analysts' forecasts for $1.31. The company cited "lower than expected performance" in its Activision division, which produces Call of Duty. Microsoft swooped in at a crucial time for Activision Blizzard, which is behind hit games such as Candy Crush and World of Warcraft.

Microsoft buying Activision: What it means for PlayStation owners, other Call of Duty fans

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

If you own a PlayStation, how worried should you be the company behind the rival Xbox could soon own one of the industry's biggest games? Microsoft's announcement Tuesday that it planned to buy Activision Blizzard – the video game publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and other flagship franchises – stirred some concerns on social media over whether Call of Duty would remain on PlayStation platforms if the deal is cleared. The deal, which is expected to close no later than June 2023, would give the tech giant another trove of video game properties to bolster the Xbox as well as its Game Pass subscription service. The announced deal comes two months after reports surfaced Microsoft was evaluating its relationship with Activision Blizzard following allegations its CEO, Bobby Kotick, knew for years about sexual misconduct claims at the company. And as gamers pondered, it could also deliver a significant setback to PlayStation maker Sony if the acquisition is approved. It's a far cry from 2015 when Andrew House, then the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, revealed a deal with Activision to deliver early access to Call of Duty content with the launch of hit title "Call of Duty: Black Ops III." "PlayStation is the new home of Call of Duty," House proclaimed during a press event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2015.