Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $69 billion

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll
Source: Activision

EXCUSE ME WHAT?

Following scandals and lawsuits alleging a culture of discrimination and harassment at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft today announced that it is buying the company. Wait, wait. 



Which. That's not what I expected when Xbox boss Phil Spencer told the team that he was "evaluating every aspect of [Xbox's] relationship" with Activision Blizzard. Microsoft plans to pay $68,7 billion (ÂŁ50 billion) for the company, which will buy games like Warcraft, Call Of Duty and Overwatch. Jesus.

Pending approval from shareholders and officials, Microsoft will buy Activision Blizzard in a cash deal valued at $68,7 billion [almost good -ed.]. 

They will pick up video game series including Call Of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Candy Crush, Starcraft and Diablo, along with 10.000 employees at studios and arms, including Blizzard Entertainment, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software, Toys For Bob, Sledgehammer Games, King, Beenox, High Moon Studios, Radical Entertainment and Major League Gaming. They expect the deal to close in fiscal 2023, so by the end of June 2023.

Microsoft says that when all is settled, they "will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as possible on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, new titles and games from Activision Blizzard's incredible back catalog."



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This is a big leap in the consolidation of the video game industry. Microsoft's announcement says they "will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony." They add that the purchase of ABK will fuel its cloud gaming push and "provide building blocks for the metaverse." Don't forget the M word when you're talking to investors.



Microsoft says Bobby Kotick will “continue as CEO of Activision Blizzard” (for now, at least?) This is the same Bobby Kotick who allegedly knew more about workplace problems than he let on, and allegedly stepped in to avoid being fired. of a high-ranking Treyarch who was accused of sexual harassment. 

The same Bobby Kotick whose continued presence as CEO led to an employee walkout in protest. I hope Microsoft handles it, because it doesn't look like Activision Blizzard will. I wouldn't be surprised if he leaves once the transition is complete, walking away with billions of dollars from the sale.

“As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey to inclusion in all aspects of gaming, among employees and gamers alike,” Spencer said in the Xbox announcement. “We deeply value the cultures of individual studios.

We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand in hand with treating each person with dignity and respect. We keep all teams and all leaders with this commitment. We look forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams at Activision Blizzard.”

It's probably good that Microsoft last week announced plans to "review the effectiveness of the company's sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies and practices." They are buying a company that needs other help to improve working conditions as well. Some QA employees at Activision Blizzard have been on strike for seven weeks to protest layoffs at Call Of Duty: Warzone developers Raven.



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