A deal that will shake the very foundations of gaming has been announced. Microsoft is acquiring rival Activision Blizzard. This deal is the video game version of the Disney / Fox merger. A big deal.
The price? An absolutely stunning $68.7 billion. And it’s all cash. No swaps, no stock options. Just cold, hard currency. So what does this mega-deal mean? Well in a sober reminder of the New World Order, even this mega-merger and the biggest in Western gaming history still only makes Microsoft a distant third globally, way behind the big dog that is China’s Tencent.
So why did they do it? Activision Blizzard’s franchises include Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, Starcraft, and Warcraft. So basically some touchstones of current gaming. Upcoming mega attraction eSports is also a major draw. Major League Gaming is included in the package. eSports are staggeringly huge outside the West these days.
This means Microsoft has thirty game development studios and a good grip on the fast-expanding mobile sector.
Was Activision Blizzard vulnerable? No doubt. They have faced a cacophony of sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations involving senior executives so this may have been a release. CEO Bobby Kotick will continue in his current role, but will now report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.
Does this mean that Call Of Duty won’t be coming to PlayStation 5 for much longer? Sony is still considerably bigger than Microsoft in gaming terms, has more market share, and sells more units, plus is more globally recognized. However, this has to be a blow. Activision Blizzard has been behind a number of hits on various PlayStation machines over the years.