The start of a new year is not the most fruitful time for big announcements. But that didn’t stop Microsoft from making the biggest acquisition in video game history – for the astronomical sum of 68.7 billion dollars (about £50.59 billion), it bought giant Activision Blizzard, significantly expanding its portfolio of game studios and brands. The transaction has already been approved by the boards of both companies. It must now be reviewed by regulators and approved by Activision Blizzard shareholders. If all goes well, the purchase will be completed in fiscal 2023.
Activision Blizzard has a number of successful gaming brands in its repertoire, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Crash Bandicoot and Candy Crush. In addition to these, the Redmond-based giant will also acquire a number of game studios such as Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games with a combined workforce of more than 10,000 employees. Once the deal is completed, Microsoft will become the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue, behind China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony.
Activision Blizzard has not shied away from controversy recently. In the United States, allegations of gender discrimination or workplace harassment have been made in relation to the famous studio. The video game publisher was also forced to postpone the release of some of its titles due to the global pandemic, which had a negative impact on its financial results for the fourth quarter of last year.
“Games are the most dynamic and exciting category of entertainment on all platforms today and will play an important role in driving the metaverse,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. While it’s too early to speculate what plans Microsoft has for Activision Blizzard, it’s very likely that a number of the well-known publisher’s brands will head straight to Game Pass subscriptions, which is the Redmond company’s gaming division’s biggest weapon against the competition.
Activision Blizzard’s purchase is the biggest deal in the history of the gaming industry
The biggest acquisition in the video game field from Microsoft’s perspective so far has been its $7.5 billion purchase of ZeniMax Media in September 2020. At that time, it took under its wing not only a number of game studios but also brands such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein and Doom.