Hot in the gaming news about the purchase of Activision-Blizzard by the tech giant Microsoft recently. What does this mean for the gamers?
A Purchase of Billions for a Metaverse Bet?
With the news of the tech giant Microsoft purchasing the whole Activision-Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion, many would think that this move was purposely done by the latter to flatten out the competition in the gaming industry. That might be partially true, but there is a deeper meaning for this history-making purchase in recent years.
In a statement provided by Reuters on January 18, 2022, the biggest acquisition in the gaming market’s industry was done not only to show the solid intent of Microsoft getting deeper but also shows its bet on the “metaverse” that other tech companies are betting on such as Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) that will be the “next big thing”. That next big thing would be their heavy involvement in the virtual reality world, where it is now being pushed as the next evolution of technology and internet space.
Acquisition of Activision-Blizzard Will Take Some Time
Although the deal is not yet fully completed, it is expected that the acquisition deal will be completed by next year, as per the information shared by YongYea from Bloomberg. Even before the acquisition’s completion, Microsoft is now considered as the third-largest gaming company, only behind Sony (2nd) and Tencent (1st).
But now that Microsoft has purchased Activision-Blizzard, what would happen with their IPs, players, and specifically, the issues and accusations their CEO Bobby Kotick has been alleged over the recent past few years?
The Fate of CEO Bobby Kotick
The past few years were a legal disputes nightmare for Activision-Blizzard, no thanks to the allegations and accusations thrown at their current CEO Bobby Kotick. The said CEO had a multitude of cases of sexual harassment to several employees and abuse of power, aside from other allegations of misconduct of the executives within the company, as per a report from Forbes.
Kotick has repeatedly stated that he wasn’t aware of those issues and allegations within his own company, but intentionally lied about those and kept most of the board members of the company in the dark (especially for those who aren’t siding with him). Aside from that, workplace malpractices had also been thrown against Activision-Blizzard during Kotick’s reign, wherein the Security Exchange Commission even launched an investigation in September 2021 towards those malpractices.
Despite all of those issues with Kotick, until the acquisition deal has been completed, Kotick will remain the CEO of Activision-Blizzard for the meantime. However, critics and analysts alike agree that once the deal has been closed, the possibility of Kotick being laid off by Microsoft is a high possibility. Kotick himself has stated that Microsoft themselves approached him for a possible layoff after the deal has been completed.
Although some other news outlets like Business Insider stated that Kotick will definitely leave the company after the deal has been closed, only the official word from Microsoft and their CEO Satya Nadella will be the word on what will happen to Kotick next.
Now, the next question is what would happen to the game companies and their respective game IPs acquired by Microsoft through the deal?
Future of Activision-Blizzard Games
Now that the acquisition deal is on the way, what would happen to the games made by Activision-Blizzard (and their studios)? The current answer for that is still uncertain at this point, as there is no concrete plan yet on what to do with those games (especially console exclusives), according to a point made out by Polygon.
However, the sure thing that will be happening is that most of Activision-Blizzard games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, StarCraft, and Diablo will be brought over to Xbox’s gaming subscription Game Pass, after the completion of the acquisition deal (most likely in 2023). But as for exclusivity goes, there is no word yet if those games will be Microsoft-exclusive or not after the deal, as many of those games have been in the past few years available to multiple gaming platforms.
The CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer addressed that issue with a statement saying “we will offer as many Activision-Blizzard games as we can within Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog”. No details about exclusivity were given in that statement as of the moment.