Microsoft Is Buying Activision-Blizzard for $69 Billion


Consolidation of media giants is now slipping into the videogame industry as well. Microsoft is buying Activision-Blizzard for $69 billion.

This is a huge deal literally. More than twice what it acquired LinkedIn($26 billion) for in 2016.

Your favourite games including Overwatch League, the Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Masters and Grandmasters, World of Warcraft Mythic Dungeon International, Candy Crush, and Arena World Championship will soon be under Microsoft Xbox console business.

This purchase will also add to their arsenal as the tech giant has been poaching game developers too.

And yes, Microsoft is all about that metaverse.

“When we think about our vision for what a metaverse can be, we believe there won’t be a single, centralized metaverse,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.

This news is not only going to draw a lot of attention from the 3 billion gamers in the world but also from anti-trust regulators in the Federal Trade Commission.

“I know it seems like we are swallowing up a lot of the games business, but don’t think of this as consolidation in an important industry — think of it as competition against Facebook in a new industry. Competition is good, right?” reads a message sent by Microsoft to Lina Khan who serves as the commissioner and chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has 25 million subscribers to its GamePass subscription service.

This purchase will make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue. Sony and Tencent hold the first and second positions respectively.

If this deal goes through, Bobby Kotick will retain his CEO seat at Activision and report to Microsoft’s head of gaming business, Phil Spencer.

Activision’s shareholders and employees have been putting pressure for Bobby to resign over how sexual misconduct allegations multiple regulatory probes into the company’s culture have been handled by him and the company.

Microsoft recently acquired Bethseda and all its studios for $7.5 billion.

The tech giant isn’t done with its acquisition spree of companies in the gaming industry.

“We’re always out there looking for people who we think would be a good match and teams that would be a good match with our strategy, so we’re definitely not done,” said Phil Spencer.

“I’m pretty bullish on the capability, over the long run, of cloud to really unlock these games for really anybody on the planet who wants to play,” he added speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out as the FTC reins in the power of big tech.

FTC’s more detailed anti-trust case against Meta accusing it of being a monopoly is still ongoing. The regulatory body is also investigating Amazon Web Services anti-competitive behaviour.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee is also working on a Senate Bill that will bar Amazon from using its power to give its products preferential treatment especially on its Marketplace that allows third-party businesses to sell their products to Amazon customers right alongside Amazon’s own products.

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George Kamau
I brunch on consumer tech | first.last at techweez dot com