Microsoft has announced that they’re set to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal nearing $70 billion.
Microsoft said on January 18, 2022, that they’re acquiring Activision, Blizzard, and King for nearly $70 billion to “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” They’ve also announced plans to bring Activision Blizzard titles to Xbox Game Pass in the future.
In a post on the Xbox website, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that “we 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.”
And not only that, they said that “Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want.” We’ll need to wait and see how involved Activision Blizzard will be with Microsoft’s franchises such as Halo.
Activision currently have a partnership with Sony, giving Call of Duty players on PlayStation exclusive cosmetics, Double XP events, and more. With Activision moving to Microsoft, the Sony deal will presumably end.
But, it’s unlikely that Call of Duty will become Xbox and PC exclusive, as Microsoft said: “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”
The deal will cost Microsoft “$95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion,” which makes it “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”
Phil Spencer said that “until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.” Current CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in charge, but once the deal, which is set to close in the fiscal year 2023, is completed, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.
Activision Blizzard is currently being investigated by the SEC over sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations. Phil Spencer announced, “Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players” and said that “We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment.”
This is a developing story, so we’re likely to know more about the deal in the coming months