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Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard

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A bit of wider industry news today. News which completely blows my mind - Microsoft are out to acquire Activision Blizzard. Pending all the regulatory approvals they need to go through which takes times and can be denied.

This continues the very worrying trend of these mega companies amassing huge resources. Microsoft now control a ridiculous amount of publisher and developer teams, easily helping towards more lock-in with Microsoft services and products. For Microsoft, it makes sense of course, since they can continue dumping titles into Game Pass and get more subscriptions for recurring revenue.

Activision Blizzard has been in a lot of hot water lately, which is probably a big understatement. Employees and investors have repeatedly called for the removal of the current CEO, Bobby Kotick. The press release is a bit vague on what will happen with Kotick, as it mentions Kotick "will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard" and then "Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming". So it somewhat makes it sound like Kotick might only be there until the deal is fully done but it's pretty vague. Probably intentionally vague due to the ongoing issues. Update: Kotick will remain, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed via email. Update #2: They tried to clarify again later that they were speaking generally about the acquisition so it's anyone's guess what will happen with Kotick (IGN).

This will be an "all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion" which is so much money I can't even begin to imagine it.

Microsoft will then own the likes of Activision, Blizzard and King studios with Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Candy Crash and global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The press release states this will make Microsoft "the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony".

Since Microsoft isn't quite the same as the Microsoft of old, we might end up seeing more Activision Blizzard games come to Steam and so making it even easier to run them on Linux through Steam Play Proton. Imagine having Diablo, Starcraft, Overwatch, various newer Call of Duty games and so on being a few clicks away on Steam + Linux.

What do you think to this news? The deal is expected to close in 2023.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Meta, Microsoft
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122 comments
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Raaben 19 Jan
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: RaabenIt's weird seeing so many think this is a good pattern and praising MS for being gamer friendly lately. Does no one else see these grabs as a great lock-in? Give it a little time, buy another beloved studio or three, then start the MS store exclusivity. With no other possibility from any of those shell publishers anymore, it will be a forced success - what Epic tried but with the capital to pull it off. And then, it could even be a simple swap to UWP and game over WINE/Proton.
Seriously.

Within recent years; inXile, Obsidian, Bethesda. Now Activision/Blizzard.

InXile and Obsidian still hurt. Bought, played, and loved all their Linux releases and was stoked to have some of my favorite studios native-friendly and then bam.
metalinux 19 Jan
I have my doubts, but I do hope this acquisition tries to fix some of the culture at Activision-Blizzard, from all of the reports of mass layoffs and underpaid workers, it does not sound like a pleasant place to work.

Transactions like $68.7 billion dollars to buy companies??? If even a small fraction of that went back to the open-souce projects that these corporations rely upon, what a world we would live in.


Last edited by metalinux on 19 January 2022 at 4:15 am UTC
tpau 19 Jan
I hope that Microsofta recent move to opensource will open up blizzards games for native Linux versions and an open source version of battle. net

But I guess the main thing is better working conditions for all employees and that we still get the same great games over our old channels without steam and the ms store.
Funding is save now :)
wof8317 19 Jan
If it means that Heretic II and Hexen II: Portal of Pravus finally gets put on Steam and GOG, then I call it a good thing on my book (though I still hate Microsoft)
Matombo 19 Jan
Regardless of the current company policy: Monopoly=Bad because policies can be changed by the blink of an eye. And if everything is owned by one company, nobody is left to challend then on their shitty behaviour.
I do hate this.

But what did Microsoft spend this buttload of money on? Maybe 5 franchises, some of them on their last legs. King is probably worth more to them than Blizzard in the long run.
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI do hate this.

But what did Microsoft spend this buttload of money on? Maybe 5 franchises, some of them on their last legs.
I guess we'll find out whether they have enough extra to buy some spare legs.
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI do hate this.

But what did Microsoft spend this buttload of money on? Maybe 5 franchises, some of them on their last legs.
I guess we'll find out whether they have enough extra to buy some spare legs.

They need to sort out the workers issue first. I hope someone has reached out to some of them to see how they feel about all this.
Craggles086 19 Jan
Am feeling disappointed by this..

When all the gaming legends of the 80s and 90s are either no more, or are all owned by two or three companies worldwide, it will be a sad day.

Hopefully there is still room for established names to publish on the indie scene. :)
einherjar 19 Jan
Microsoft shows Epic how to act against Steam.

I am sure they have a long term strategy. The time will come, when the MS owned games will be Windows/XBOX exclusive.

I am worried, that Gaben has just missed the point to also own a few important franchises/Studios, to compete. If you only have the plattform, you are fucked in the long term. At least when there is a content owner, who owns a majority of content and has big infrastructure/customer base like Windows.
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