Troubled publisher finds new owner
Microsoft has purchased Activision Blizzard, the developer/publisher behind multi-billion dollar franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.
The industry-shaking acquisition was reported early this morning by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass, the acquisition being officially confirmed shortly thereafter by Microsoft itself. The sale transaction is reported to be in the region of $68.7 billion USD with the transaction including Activision, Activision Blizzard, mobile giant King, and all subsidiary properties and IPs.
Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Gaming, Phil Spencer, has released a statement regarding the purchase.
“It is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.”
“Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.”
“Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me [Phil Spencer] as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Activision Blizzard, unquestionably one of the largest, most successful, and most lucrative studios in the history of video games, has cemented its status over the past three decades by focusing on consistently selling IPs, long-life multiplayer titles, and hugely successful, annually released titles within globally popular franchises.
Unfortunately, recent headlines have shown that all of this success has come at a heavy price. A lawsuit filed by Californian courts in July 2021 has led to a slew of distressing testimony from Activision employees — blasting the studio and its upper echelon for presiding over a toxic and discriminatory environment. Activision Blizzard has since been rocked by the scandal, led by employee walkouts and frequent calls for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick. Six months later, the studio is no closer to finding public favor.
This purchase no doubt signifies efforts to paint a “new dawn” for Activision Blizzard and its employees. Of course, such a motion is all for naught until real, tangible, sustainable change is implemented at the studio. Microsoft may be about to reap the financial reward from owning some of the most successful video game series of all time, but it now has a moral obligation — a duty — to repair the studio’s broken reputation and ensure the safety, security, and well-being of Activision Blizzard’s team of employees.
This purchase cannot simply be a (very expensive) coat of paint.
You can read an abridged timeline of the Activision Blizzard controversy right here.