Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, the company announced today. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and Microsoft says it will become the “world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony” once the deal is completed.
Activision Blizzard’s troubles are well documented with allegations of a toxic workplace environment which eventually attracted a lawsuit filed by the state of California. Once the acquisition is completed, Microsoft will be in control of franchises such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush. In a blog post, Microsoft Gaming Chief Phill Spencer says the company “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.”
According to Spencer, the CEO of the embattled Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick will continue in his position and the company will continue to operate independently. The Wall Street Journal understands Kotick will depart as CEO once the acquisition is completed in the fiscal year 2023, subject to regulatory approval.
“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 Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “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.”
“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”
In a piece of related news, Microsoft announced its cloud gaming service, Xbox Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. Microsoft continues to bolster the service with more games almost a year after acquiring the parent company of Bethesda, ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion.