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Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has a new owner: Microsoft. The software giant is adding more developers to its folds, looking to increase its presence in the console, mobile and metaverse markets.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard
Some of the leading titles developed by Activision Blizzard are now under Microsoft’s umbrella. Source: Microsoft.

Activision Blizzard, famous for its titles Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Skylanders, Diablo, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft is being scooped up for $68.7 billion USD by the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

“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.”

Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft

The acquisition of Activision Blizzard makes Microsoft now the third largest video game company by revenue, trailing China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony as stated by the Microsoft press release.

Activision Blizzard is no stranger to the news. Complaints about management’s response to accusations of unequal pay, harassment and discrimination has dogged Activision Blizzard in the past year, as employees staged walkouts to demand an end to toxic workplace culture.

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, will stay on and report into Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

In March 2021, Microsoft purchased another video game studio, ZeniMax Media, the parent of Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda has developed multiple titles in the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein franchises.

According to Microsoft, over 100 million people play games on the Xbox family of consoles, PC and mobile devices each month; 25 million of these gamers hold an active subscription to Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard, while approved by both boards, is expected to complete during the fiscal year 2023 — in the time period after the new fiscal year begins on July 1st, 2022.

Sources: Microsoft press release, CBC

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