Microsoft finally completes its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has triumphantly completed its monumental acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a staggering $68.7 billion. This acquisition ushers in a new era for Microsoft, as it welcomes into its fold one of the most prominent gaming publishers responsible for a myriad of iconic titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. The closing of this deal marks the culmination of an extensive 20-month journey that saw Microsoft navigating complex regulatory challenges in both the UK and the US. Throughout this period, the company successfully overcame the Federal Trade Commission in a US federal court and meticulously restructured the deal to meet the requirements of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK.

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Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, expressed his enthusiasm for this union by highlighting Microsoft’s profound commitment to gaming: “We love gaming. We play games, create games, and know firsthand how much gaming means to all of us as individuals and collectively, as a community. And today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox. As one team, we’ll learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people. We’ll do this in a culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work, where all people are welcome, and is centred on our ongoing commitment of Gaming for Everyone.”

This landmark acquisition represents Microsoft’s most substantial financial investment, surpassing its previous acquisitions of LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016 and Bethesda for $7.5 billion in 2021. It also signifies Microsoft’s significant expansion into the gaming industry, propelling the company into the position of the “third-largest gaming company by revenue,” trailing behind only Tencent and Sony.

Microsoft’s strategic direction involves the integration of numerous beloved titles from Activision Blizzard into the popular Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Spencer revealed the company’s intentions, stating, “Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months. We know you’re excited – and we are too.”

However, it is crucial to note that some high-profile titles, such as Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo IV, will not be immediately available on Xbox Game Pass following the acquisition. Microsoft has yet to release updated subscription numbers for Xbox Game Pass, with the last known figure of 25 million subscribers dating back to the original Activision Blizzard deal announcement in January 2022.

This colossal acquisition integrates more than nine game studios from the Blizzard side alone into Microsoft’s expansive Xbox Game Studios. Furthermore, it incorporates game studios spanning over 11 different locations, all within the mobile gaming sector. Microsoft’s status as a publishing powerhouse is solidified with the addition of over 8,500 Activision employees to its workforce.