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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 19, @02:46AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal

Microsoft set to purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 billion deal:

Microsoft this morning announced plans to purchase gaming mega-publisher Activision Blizzard for a record-setting $68.7 billion. The move, when finalized, would bring franchises like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and many more under the umbrella of the Xbox maker.

Today's announcement follows on Microsoft's $7.8 billion acquisition of Bethesda, announced just 15 months ago. After some initial confusion about what that meant for Bethesda's multiplatform titles, it has since become clear that most of Bethesda's biggest franchises, such as Elder Scrolls, will not be appearing on competing consoles such as the PlayStation 5.

In an encouraging sign for fans of Activision Blizzard's multiplatform games, Microsoft said in its announcement that "Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward." But Microsoft and Bethesda executives made similar positive noises about multiplatform titles before the deal was closed, only to shift towards Bethesda exclusivity after the deal was finalized.

Microsoft notes in its announcement that Activision Blizzard games would become a part of its Game Pass program, which currently enjoys 25 million subscribers. "With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry," the company said. "Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities."

Microsoft Plans to Buy Activision Blizzard for Nearly $70bn

Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70bn:

This deal is the biggest in gaming history and comes a year after Microsoft bought another influential gaming company Bethesda for $7.5bn.

Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft said: "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."

Activision Blizzard has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

It has been dealing with accusations of a toxic work-place culture and claims of sexual harassment in recent months.

MS set to buy the competition, Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash. I guess this is what corporations with too much cash on hand do, go on a shopping spree.

I wonder if this means World of Warcraft will now come to the Xbox and if the sub fee will be covered by the Xbox Game Pass...


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Related Stories

The Biggest Deal in Gaming is Under Fire From U.S. Senators 22 comments

The Biggest Deal In Gaming Is Under Fire From U.S. Senators:

Four U.S. senators have torpedoed Microsoft's $69 billion deal for Activision. They believe that the consolidation of the high-tech industry and corporate culture of gender misconduct at Activision could expand by the transaction. Democrat senators think that the planned takeover could undermine employees' calls for accountability over alleged gender and sexual harassment at the game developer.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D), Bernie Sanders (I), Cory Booker (D), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D) are distraught with the fact that Robert Kotick, chief exec of Activision, will remain at the helm of the game company until closing in 2023. With the same head, the culture of misconduct will not go away, they assume. Another point they are concerned about is the consolidation of the high-tech industry in general and its impact on the workforce. Given their concerns, they wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to block the deal.

"We are deeply concerned about consolidation in the tech industry and its impact on workers," the letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal reads. "This lack of accountability, despite shareholders, employees, and the public calling for Kotick to be held responsible for the culture he created, would be an unacceptable result of the proposed Microsoft acquisition."

[...] The senators demand that FTC oppose the deal if it finds that it can worsen the negotiating position between workers and companies (in this case, Microsoft represents both entities).

Previously:
Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Mykl on Wednesday January 19, @03:01AM (3 children)

    by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday January 19, @03:01AM (#1213766)

    Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by aristarchus on Wednesday January 19, @03:05AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday January 19, @03:05AM (#1213767) Journal

    I only run Windows for, . . . Oh noes! It's a trap!

    --
    #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Wednesday January 19, @03:21AM (12 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday January 19, @03:21AM (#1213770)

    Microsoft's very obvious goal is to buy up all the game developers to make them XBox or Windows only, then use them to drive Sony and Nintendo out of the console business. Which is completely illegal in the US, not that the FTC has ever really wanted to go after Microsoft for that since their dust-up in the 90's.

    Oh, and I'm pretty sure we can all agree that all the beloved Blizzard franchises are done. An out-of-season April Fools joke? [youtube.com] indeed.

    --
    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Snospar on Wednesday January 19, @08:02AM (2 children)

      by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 19, @08:02AM (#1213804)

      Don't forget Steam. Microsoft also wants to be able to piss Valve off as well. All this talk about the Steam Deck being able to run games without running Windows must be bad for business. Microsoft has already been found guilty of being a monopoly but here we are again.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday January 19, @06:26PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Wednesday January 19, @06:26PM (#1213896) Journal

        Steam's Proton works rather well. It wasn't exactly a seamless, perfect experience, but gaming on Linux is a viable option. There were a few show stoppers for me, but not many. My biggest issue was getting Steam VR to play games designed for Windows. SteamVR itself worked, but the few games I tried didn't. Now, that could just mean that I needed to work on it or that I was unlucky in what I picked. Whatever the issue, kiddo wanted to play VR Zoo and Summer Funland. So, I unplugged the external Linux drive, and booted everything back into Windows like normal.

        --
        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:53PM (#1213983)

          agreed. proton works good.
          for steamVR linux i recommend first starting steam VR linux and once "home in the mountains" has loaded to start the VR game (windows version) via steam program with mouse.
          i really hope proton folds into wine and that proton becomes obsolete.
          also i wish "steamVR" can be installed stand-alone (to get the "glue" that's needed between kernel-hardware drivers for VR hardware (htc vive i am looking at you) and the VR environment (XR or something)) and can be called/started from wine itself...?
          as it is now, steamVR linux isn't really compatible with wine :(

          as for the topic: *shrug* but they ARE going to squeeze out 68 bellleons out of actionvision "somehow". you buy ms stocks only because they have a henchman like focus on getting profits (back), heyya?

    • (Score: 2) by Username on Wednesday January 19, @08:57AM

      by Username (4557) on Wednesday January 19, @08:57AM (#1213811)

      Yeah, I'm surprised they're allowed to do this.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday January 19, @11:00AM

      by looorg (578) on Wednesday January 19, @11:00AM (#1213818)

      Remains to be seen. The impression I get from the articles is that there doesn't seem to be any anti-trust issues involved. I guess MS gaming just isn't that big yet compared to the others. There are probably other large game publishers that are considered to be bigger and more powerful. But they are clearly making their way there now. There was some note that Gamepass had 25 million subs or something such, considering that at it's height WOW had 12 million subs alone (now it's a lot less from what I gather), still there is overlap and all among gamers so it's not just adding one number whatever it might be today to the other etc. So for a lot of gamers the consolidation might turn out to be a $ saver.

      If one just looks at gaming franchises they are buying a lot of the competition (or names) in one swoop -- World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch and Candy Crush. Since previous MS already owns Zenimax and Bethesda (Fallout, Halo, Wolfenstein, Minecraft ...). These are just the once I can recall from the top of my head.

      Still that is a lot of new users and game that they can integrate into their system and Gamepass. Lots of new monthly subs they get to integrate and monetize in the MS storefront.

      I guess one can't get passed that a lot of these things will now be locked down as Xbox and Windows exclusive titles. Can't have any of those other pesky consoles have versions of their games. Not that Sony and Nintendo are "better" in that regard. They tend not to go for giving the others access either. But things are definitely looking like they are getting grouped up and locked down. Redmond appears to just have taken a fair chunk of the gaming market in one sweeping bite.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday January 19, @06:21PM (4 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday January 19, @06:21PM (#1213895) Journal

      Blizzard has been on a downward spiral for some time now. The acquisition by Microsoft may actually be a lifeline for the Studio. At this point, for Blizzard, a change in leadership, wouldn't be a bad thing.

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 19, @07:49PM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 19, @07:49PM (#1213916)

        It reminds me of when Sony bought Aerosmith - they were kinda washed up. So, out of the 10 album deal (IIRC) we got two or three good albums with two or three good songs each, and I'm sure Sony made huge bank on the deal overall.

        Question is: whose drug habit at Blizzard is this deal supporting?

        --
        Україна не входить до складу Росії.
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday January 19, @08:13PM

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday January 19, @08:13PM (#1213925) Journal

          I would ask, who stands to gain the most from the sale?

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @08:14PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @08:14PM (#1213927)

        It is simply the age-old problem of companies going from enthusiastic content creators to corporate money counters. Fire the "problem" people and hire eager new people that won't make waves. Bad news is those problem people were the ones trying to make better games.

        We're fighting human nature, we're social creatures that split up responsibilities. What we need is a cultural shift away from the Boss Man model. The boss is just another role in any venture and we should stop treating them like kings. People like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs take credit for the hard work and brilliance of others, but because "they" pay the bills and said "build the thing!" they want everyone to pretend like their genius was necessary. Elon Musk is not Tony Stark, and the real Stark is sitting in some lab wasting their time making a slightly better widget.

        As a species our priorities are messed up.

        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday January 20, @03:46PM

          by Freeman (732) on Thursday January 20, @03:46PM (#1214188) Journal

          Elon Musk certainly has the Tony Stark flair.

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 19, @08:14PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 19, @08:14PM (#1213926)

      We can hope that Blizzard will follow a Nokia trajectory within the Microsoft digestive tract... hopefully the excrement can resurrect and find its roots. 7 years isn't an unusual interval to wait for new Blizzard titles.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:25PM (#1213969)

      90s, not 90's.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Barenflimski on Wednesday January 19, @03:51AM (3 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Wednesday January 19, @03:51AM (#1213777)

    Call-of-Halo 2023 4ever!

    Activision can't even keep up with the games they have. They're the only games I buy that are broken to begin with, and I expect them to be broken. I can't imagine how a company that has trouble with their main task is going to perform while being assimilated.

    Can't wait!

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by MrGuy on Wednesday January 19, @01:02PM (1 child)

      by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday January 19, @01:02PM (#1213826)

      So, you never buy Bethesda games, then?

        I buy that are broken to begin with, and I expect them to be broken. I can't imagine how a company that has trouble with their main task is going to perform while being assimilated.

      So, this is the thing. They’re games that are broken, and you buy them anyways. Not criticizing for this- they make some good (if very frustrating) franchises. But if the games are to the point of “yeah, they’re buggy, but our customers buy them anyways,” what makes you think the ownership of the company matters?

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 19, @08:12PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 19, @08:12PM (#1213923)

      I would expect quality under Microsoft to incrementally improve vs Activision / Bethesda levels.

      I would also expect release cadence to increase after an initial pause for assimilation.

      I would finally expect creativity and uniqueness to take a nose dive - think: FIFA Soccer or NBA Basketball annual releases.

      Maybe some additional tie-in to licensed content and co-marketing... cheap action figures included in breakfast cereals?

      Broad market appeal, focusing on the segments with sufficient disposable income to regularly purchase their content. That's going to increase, or they're going to be re-sold.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by acid andy on Wednesday January 19, @01:06PM (4 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday January 19, @01:06PM (#1213827) Homepage Journal

    Sat Nad's corporate speak creeps me out.

    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.

    All your data are belong to us. All your console are belong to us. All your computer are belong to us. I wonder what twisted delights of telemetry and DRM these games will be enhanced with.

    There was also this way back in 2014 [soylentnews.org] :

    And we will strike the right balance between using data to create intelligent, personal experiences, while maintaining security and privacy.

    He acknowledges there's a balance to be struck between privacy and "using" people's data, but he doesn't say "between [A] and [B]", he says "between [A] while [B]", so, security and privacy while our using data. The odd grammar seems like a Freudian slip, as he knows they're mutually exclusive. All your data are belong to us.

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 19, @07:52PM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 19, @07:52PM (#1213919)

      How do you know when corporate PR flak is lying?

      When they're saying anything at all - they wouldn't have a job if there was no need to lie / distort / misdirect.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Wednesday January 19, @10:40PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday January 19, @10:40PM (#1213974) Homepage Journal

        Yeah, and the more powerful they are, the creepier it feels.

        --
        Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @08:26PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @08:26PM (#1213928)

      There is basically no other way to effectively do anything about cheaters and griefers. My preferred answer is paying for moderators, a real human is the only semi-reliable method, but even then they can't catch every cheater so DRM spyware is not going anywhere for multiplayer games. Maybe that is wrong and companies are just slow to ban problem players, see note about moderators again and banning people is always tricky cause they'll lie about their bad behavior. How else can companies create gaming ecosystems that aren't ruined by jerks?

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday January 20, @04:45PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Thursday January 20, @04:45PM (#1214215) Homepage Journal

        Almost all games are closed source and generally you're not going to know what data a multiplayer game is uploading, so there's a degree of trust. The problem is I don't think M$ can be trusted. It's been shown multiple times how much personal data recent versions of Windows regularly upload to their servers.

        Regarding DRM to combat cheaters, I'd say if the game is just validating its own files and memory contents then that's fine but rootkits and spyware that report on what else is on the computer should be unacceptable. As for human moderation of bad behavior, that's where I prefer smaller game servers where the host administers it and sets their own rules and can kick anyone that causes too much trouble. I'm not really a fan of MMOs but I do appreciate they're harder to moderate behavior on.

        --
        Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
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