In a stunning move, Blizzard announced on Tuesday morning, January 18th of 2022 that they will acquire Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard is known for popular game series like StarCraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Warcraft, Call of Duty, and many other titles.
According to Microsoft, the acquisition of Blizzard will accelerate the growth of their gaming business across mobile, PC, console (XBox), and cloud platforms. Interestingly, Microsoft also cites that this acquisition will be a building block for their presence in the Metaverse. According to Satya Nedella, Microsoft’s CEO, “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms”.
After the acquisition completes, Microsoft will become the third largest video game entertainment company in the world, behind only Sony and Tencent. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all”, Said Nedella.
With this move, Microsoft plans to launch Blizzard’s games into Microsoft’s Game Pass. Game Pass currently has over 25 million subscribers and Blizzard has almost 400 million monthly active players across 190 countries.
Microsoft and Blizzard will continue to operate independently until the acquisition completes, which is expected to be sometime in 2023. After the acquisition completes, the Activision brand will report directly to Microsoft gaming, which should present an interesting dynamic in the gaming world. According to Phil Spencer, in an e-mail to employees, Microsoft values independent studio cultures and “believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect”.
This is not the first time Blizzard has been acquired. Blizzard was founded in 1991, and has since been acquired by Vivendi in 2008, where it became Activision Blizzard. In 2013, Activision Blizzard bought out of Vivendi, its parent company. Since then and until now, Activision Blizzard has maintained complete independence. Throughout the whole lifespan of Activision Blizzard, it has been lead by one man, Bobby Kotic. Microsoft’s press release stated that it will continue to keep Bobby as the Activision Blizzard CEO after the acquisition is complete.
- Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device – Stories
- Phil Spencer email to Xbox employees: RE: Bringing the joy and community of gaming to everyone – Stories (microsoft.com)
- Welcoming the Incredible Teams and Legendary Franchises of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming – Xbox Wire