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PlayStation Plus rolling out new plans in June to compete with Xbox's Game Pass

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Sony is beefing up its PlayStation Plus subscription service with new plans and a wider selection of games for players to stream or download. On Tuesday, Sony confirmed it will combine the current PlayStation Plus service with PlayStation Now, where players can stream a variety of games for a monthly price, into one larger platform. Starting this June, PlayStation Plus will offer video game console owners three options: an entry-level Essential plan, along with Extra and Premium plans. The Essential plan will cost $59.99 a year or $9.99 a month. The Extra plan will cost $14.99 a month ($99.99 annually), while the Premium plan costs $17.99 a month ($119.99 a year).


Diablo 4: everything we know so far

#artificialintelligence

Publisher Activision Blizzard, responsible for the game this article refers to, is currently embroiled in ongoing litigation in regards to claims reporting a workplace culture that allegedly enabled acts of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination. Diablo 4 is currently in development but it looks like its release is still a long way off. That hasn't stopped us from searching out the best rumors and the latest news about Blizzard's upcoming hack'n slash adventure. The Diablo series certainly is undergoing something of a resurgence right now. First announced at Blizzcon 2019, Diablo 4 development has supposedly been progressing since. Diablo 2 Resurrected, a remaster of the PC classic, has already been released and Diablo Immortal is expected to arrive on Android and iOS devices in 2022. Naturally, though, we're most excited about the release of Diablo 4 and thanks to Blizzard's quarterly development updates, we're learning more about it all the time. With the recent announcement that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard, the landscape around Diablo 4's development is changing and it currently remains unclear what the acquisition could mean for the game if it goes through, especially as Diablo 4's release is so far down the line--we're not expecting it until at least 2023. While we wait, though, here's all the news, updates and rumors we've collated about Diablo 4 so far. What could this mean for Diablo 4's release? Read on to find out more.] Bad news here: Diablo 4 probably won't be released anytime soon. At a Blizzcon 2019 deep dive on the game, the game's director said that he doesn't expect the game to be finished anytime soon, "even by Blizzard's standards of soon." Fast-forward to the end of 2021, and that comment still stands after the announcement of an indefinite delay. During Activision Blizzard's Q3 earnings call in November 2021, it made the following statement: "While we are still planning to deliver a substantial amount of content from Blizzard next year, we are now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV than originally envisaged".


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.


Activision Blizzard's console revenue drops 31 percent; 'World of Warcraft' is getting a mobile game

Washington Post - Technology News

While companies are not required to hold earnings calls, it's rare for a major tech or gaming company to cancel its call ahead of an acquisition when "the ink is still wet" on the deal, according to Joost van Dreunen, a lecturer on the business of games at the New York University Stern School of Business. For example, Glu Mobile held earnings calls throughout 2020, ahead of its completed acquisition by Electronic Arts last April. However, last December, Slack canceled its earnings call after announcing Salesforce would acquire it. In 2016, Yahoo skipped its earnings call ahead of being bought by Verizon, in the midst of dealing with fallout from its data breach. Activision Blizzard is currently facing multiple lawsuits from employees, California's state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, shareholders and investigations from federal regulators over how management handled allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and other corporate workplace issues.


Microsoft Sees Strong Earnings On Cloud Computing

International Business Times

Microsoft beat market expectations Tuesday with strong quarterly performance in cloud computing and software, still benefitting from the pandemic's online shifting of work, play, shopping and learning. The US tech colossus, which announced last week a blockbuster deal to buy gaming giant Activision Blizzard, said profit jumped to $18.8 billion in the final three months of last year. "Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world's disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life," CEO Satya Nadella said, in announcing revenue of $51.7 billion. Microsoft investments include pouring money into the booming video game market and by extension the metaverse, the virtual reality vision for the internet's future. On an earnings call, Nadella pointed to the tens of millions of people playing games such as Forza, Halo and Minecraft, many investing in "avatar" proxies for online worlds, saying that the metaverse is a natural extension.


Microsoft-Activision deal: What will it mean? Talking Tech podcast

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text. Welcome back to Talking Tech. You likely heard me a couple days ago talking about Microsoft's huge deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, which is the video game publisher that makes a ton of big titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft through Blizzard, and a host of others. The big concern for some video game players, particularly owners of a PlayStation, is whether they should be worried that one of the industry's biggest games and Call of Duty may no longer be on the platform.


Monopoly money: is Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard good for gaming?

The Guardian

In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft's developer Mojang for what seemed, at the time, an eye-popping figure: $2.5bn (£1.8bn). It was the first in a series of bullish video-game studio acquisitions by the tech giant, whose games division has been led by executive Phil Spencer, a long-time advocate for video games within Microsoft and the wider business world, for the past eight years. More studios followed, for undisclosed amounts: beloved Californian comedy-game artists Double Fine, UK studio Ninja Theory, RPG specialists Obsidian Entertainment. It seemed that under Spencer's leadership, Microsoft was cementing its commitment to the Xbox console and the video-games business by investing in what makes games great: the people who make them. Then came 2020's deal to acquire Zenimax (and with it Bethesda), for a properly astonishing $7.5bn.


Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion: Talking Tech podcast

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text. Welcome back to talking tech huge news in the world of video games. And for that matter technology, Microsoft announced it plans to acquire video game publisher Activision Blizzard in an all cash deal valued at an eye-popping 68.7 billion.


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 to acquire 'Call of Duty' publisher Activision Blizzard in blockbuster video game deal

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Video game giants Call of Duty and World of Warcraft have a new home: Microsoft. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced it will acquire Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, one of the top-selling video games in the U.S., along with several other titles including Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion. "Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement. "We're investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all."