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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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Shmerl 18 Jan
Quoting: CyborgZetaI suppose I should be fortunate that I largely play Japanese games (Japanese law forbids foreign companies from acquiring domestic companies), and that the majority of games I play in general are older games.

One issue with many Japanese publishers - they are usually very resistant to releasing DRM-free. Though it started getting a bit better (you can find some Japanese games on GOG), but in general didn't improve a lot yet.
Shmerl 18 Jan
Quoting: Whitewolfe80Well of course MS is pushing DX12 if i were in his position i would be as well get wide spread adoption get a locked in market then when people realize there is nothing else out there you switch the pricing model to licence then you dont have to make another game or product again you buy in the studios. Hell its worked for valve they havent made a game in almost 13 years they rely on licensing and profits from their store. Itsa a very viable if anti consumer business model.

Lock-in is still disgusting. It's not just anti-consumer, it's an anti-developer tactic.
14 18 Jan
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Quoting: robvvApparently Microsoft’s shares fell by 1% after the announcement!
I think coincidental, right? Big tech shares declined over the last week in general.


Last edited by 14 on 18 January 2022 at 10:33 pm UTC
elmapul 18 Jan
Quoting: wvstolzing
Quoting: elmapul
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.

You mean their stock buybacks? yahoo finance link

that was a joke, but, good point.


Last edited by elmapul on 18 January 2022 at 10:40 pm UTC
STiAT 18 Jan
It's not a bad move. Microsoft has no history of aggressive sourcing, and a quite high standard for Employees.

With what Activision/Blizzard produced the past years, completely failing their audience, it hardly could get worse.

I actually do not mind that particular takeover, since they were in the shits management wise and producing games which are good.

I see an issue with Microsoft to buy up so much in the gaming market. Not because it's Microsoft, but it's concentrating the market too much under a single banner and within that management and direction.

I hope though that Microsoft can find talent and accordingly skilled management to pull the cart out of the shits. My guess is that Blizzard would pretty much struggle in future if nothing happened, the current course just was a downward spiral.

Microsoft is not in the game for short term profits, they are a platform holder who are into long term profits. That usually is better for games.

We will see.


Last edited by STiAT on 18 January 2022 at 11:55 pm UTC
TheRiddick 18 Jan
Well if you don't SPEND your billions you will eventually need to pay it to the tax man so of cause this makes sense.

However I do wonder about the developer morals behind MS. I think they did good with the recent HALO release IMO, but we have yet to see what we'll get out of the Bethesda acquisition.
Quoting: TheRiddickWell if you don't SPEND your billions you will eventually need to pay it to the tax man
That idea is so 20th century. Paying taxes is for us little people.
BielFPs 19 Jan
Quoting: F.UltraDepends on what kind of Money MS would throw at then, I think the right amount would make Tencent sell, isn't that their entire business with Epic, to draw up the worth of it to sell it all for a huge profit? Or do we see Tencent as a long time owner?
I meant in a scenario where Tencent wouldn't want to sell the company for whatever reason. Personally I think since the Epic business model is unsustainable in the long term, I don't see any reason Sweeney wouldn't (fully) bend to MS in case of a purchase offer.

Microsoft only need to wait until their stock market comes down for like they did on this case with.
Koopacabras 19 Jan
"under capitalism man exploits man. under communism it’s just the opposite"

:P
slaapliedje 19 Jan
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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.

Still laughing that so many journalists are rounding off to 70 Billion... ignoring the 1.3 Billion dollar difference between 70 and 68.7...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbVb63qPDQ8


Last edited by slaapliedje on 19 January 2022 at 3:36 am UTC
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