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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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randyl 18 Jan
Hmm, I'm pretty shocked. This is not the acquisition I was hoping for. I was hoping and thought this would be EA since EA Play is also part of Xbox GamePass. EA would make such a perfect fit for the Xbox GamePass portfolio. The ABK acquisition is just so meh on the surface.

Microsoft has been very hands off with its larger acquisitions in the last year or so. The new production titles do work with GamePass and have an Xbox focus, but they also tend to let the companies run themselves and aren't "fixing" many of the ills fans hope for. A lot of the games are added to GamePass as part of the subscription, but their individual subscriptions are not (e.g.: Elder Scrolls Online). Zenimax Media and its former subsidiaries (Bethesda, Zenimax Online, Arkane, iD, and some others) are still essentially the same from the player's perspective. They haven't fixed Fallout 76 management. The Sony PS timed exclusives still launched on the PlayStation, and then later to Xbox GamePass. Elder Scrolls performance and network issues are still a hot mess especially in Cyrodiil.

I don't see much changing except their titles being rolled into Xbox and probably GamePass. My one hope out of this is that they'll ditch their awful Blizzard Launcher and separate 2FA system.
elmapul 18 Jan
Quoting: LordDaveTheKind
Quoting: UpscaleDon't forget Nintendo off that list
I recall there are a few constraints on acquiring a Japanese company. Am I wrong?

yeah, there are laws against being acquired by international companies, that is, if you are big enough.

and even if they tried, nintendo laughed at then once, they wont be trying again any time soon i guess.
omer666 18 Jan
This is a first in Microsoft history:

- Usually, they buy a successful studio at its highest, then they mess it all with their poor management until the creative leadership of the company resigns. Examples: Lionhead, Rare, Bungie...

- Now, they prefer to buy companies after they've already lost all their creativity. Can't be that much worse if it's already terrible, right?

Microsoft, thank you so much for being yourself. If one ever tried to parody you, they wouldn't even be able to pull it in such a blatantly clichéd manner (they would lack the money anyway...)

Now XBox players will get to see Doom 6 and Diablo 4 released with even worse technical problems than their predecessors!


Last edited by omer666 on 18 January 2022 at 4:31 pm UTC
elmapul 18 Jan
so...
microsoft may not be able to convince many thirdy parties to adopt the latest directX standards, wich means, wine may be closer to perfection each year...
but they can acquire a lot of companies and then control they to force then adopt something that will make our lifes easier, if not impossible do develop something like wine.
(it take some time for wine to catch up with the latest apis or dx stuff, and if by that time they migrate the code to something new, then by the time something start working it break again, that is pretty much the reason why anti cheat is almost impossible to dodge)

if microsoft do it with enough critical franchises, we can kiss goodbye to any chances of improving linux share.
BielFPs 18 Jan
Quoting: UpscaleDon't forget Nintendo off that list
Quoting: mrdeathjrbetter this
[ ] EA or this [ ] Capcom
I don't think so
EA has Battlefield ip and a lot of sports games like FIFA to keep then alive for a long time, same with Nintendo and their big three (Mario, Zelda and Pokemon)

Capcom I think would more likely to be acquired by another asian company like Bandai, Konami or Square Enix.

But Epic was everything to be acquired by Microsoft in my opinion:
-Epic games it's a platform 100% dependent on Windows
-It's only held by one in house ip (Fortnite), because giving free games doesn't help in the long term, if players don't also buy games from their store
-Would be interesting to Microsoft to integrate Epic Store users to their store, like they usually does to other software, at the same time they "remove" a potentially competitor

The only factor that I can think it could prevent this acquisition would be Tencent.

But since this seems unlikely to some then remember: If it happens, you heard first from me


Last edited by BielFPs on 19 January 2022 at 3:02 am UTC
slaapliedje 18 Jan
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: syylkWell, most Blizzard products were known to run well under WINE since dirt was invented - to the point of speculating if somebody internally was smoothing them at the edges on purpose to keep some sort of unsupported-but-working compatibility...
Wasn't speculation. In the past the WoW team did implement things here and there to smoothen running it in Wine. I don't have a source to hand but it was in public postings from their team on their official forum.
I mean it was confirmed they had a native client at one point during testing, but decided to never actually release it.

They are also one of those few that released an M1 native client for Macs like right away. Wonder under MS, how that'll continue.

On the flip side of this, I got an email today about Ultima Online: Forever having a new expansion!
CFWhitman 18 Jan
Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: syylkWell, most Blizzard products were known to run well under WINE since dirt was invented - to the point of speculating if somebody internally was smoothing them at the edges on purpose to keep some sort of unsupported-but-working compatibility...
Wasn't speculation. In the past the WoW team did implement things here and there to smoothen running it in Wine. I don't have a source to hand but it was in public postings from their team on their official forum.

Possibly goes back to when Sam Lantinga worked there.

i remember reading somewhere that blizard had an internal build of warcraft running on linux, people especulated that they plan to relase it soon, years have passed and nothing happened, i always assumed that the linux comunity miss interpret the news, an headless server without any graphical pipeline to draw stuff on screen became "it has an native linux port, blizzard might relase it at any moment" only false hopes to convince people to not giveup on linux...
but now, reading this, i think their build was true, it just wasnt native...

I remember the rumor about Blizzard having a native Linux build of WoW that some of the developers used. The way I heard it at the time was that there was practically zero chance of it ever being released. The company didn't want to get involved with such a small market, and Linux users could always use Wine, which they tried to make sure would work, but without any official support. I don't know if it was true or not.
elmapul 18 Jan
Quoting: PikoloThis is sad news. Not that Activision Blizzard is a good company or anything, but Microsoft is already way too large. I hope antimonopoly regulations prevent this from going through.

your propic is familiar where is this from?
Well from a Linux gamer's perspective we have seen much worse acquisitions over the last years where MS was actually swallowing Linux 'friendly' companies.
elmapul 18 Jan
Quoting: NanobangOne of these days Microsoft will acquire Microsoft and we'll all die from the resulting black hole.


lol

actually this day exists its called yesterday.


Last edited by elmapul on 18 January 2022 at 5:06 pm UTC
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