Microsoft Closes Activision Blizzard Acquisition, Following 20 Months of Regulatory Battles
Microsoft has finally dried the ink on its $68.7 billion USD (around $92.6 billion CAD) acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Following an extensive 20-month period of countless regulatory battles, Microsoft confirms that Activision Blizzard is now under the Xbox umbrella. Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and other popular franchises are now under the ownership of the Xbox brand. This announcement quickly follows after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved a restructuring of the deal.
Following Microsoft’s 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax for $7.5 billion USD (approximately $10 billion CAD) in 2021, the company turned its eyes onto Activision Blizzard. In 2022, Microsoft announced its plans to purchase the publisher. However, it faced pushback from many regulators, including the CMA, FTC, and European Commission. By signing 10-year-long deals with competitors, and restructuring the deal to sell Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, Microsoft was able to gain approval and win its needed court cases.
Activision Blizzard games are coming to Ubisoft+!
Find out more about our newly closed cloud streaming deal and what it means for Ubisoft+ subscribers.
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) October 13, 2023
In an Xbox Wire post, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirms that the teams are starting to work to “bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms.” While the company doesn’t have any official announcements to share today, more information will arrive ” in the coming months.” This includes news on when players can expect Activision Blizzard games to arrive on the service.
“I’ve long admired the work of Activision, Blizzard, and King, and the impact they’ve had on gaming, entertainment, and pop culture,” Spencer states. “Whether it was late nights spent playing the Diablo IV campaign with friends from start to finish, gathering the entire family in the rec room for our weekly Guitar Hero night, or going on an epic streak in Candy Crush, some of my most memorable gaming moments came from experiences their studios have created. It is incredible to welcome such legendary teams to Xbox.”
With the acquisition of Activision Blizzard complete, Microsoft now welcomes over 10 studios including Blizzard Entertainment, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, High Moon Studios, Toys for Bob, and more. Activision Blizzard also has more than 8,500 employees.
As for what the acquisition means for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, it appears as though he will be stepping down from his position. According to Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier, Kotick will remain as CEO until January 1st, 2024. During this time, he’ll help with the transition and closure of the deal. Kotick, of course, has been central in many recent allegations.
As the Microsoft-Activision deal closes, Bobby Kotick says he'll stay on as CEO through the end of the year. On January 1, 2024, Kotick will depart the company he took over 33 years ago — a massive change for the video game industry
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 13, 2023
Although the deal itself is finally closed, there are still many irons in the fire over at Microsoft. For players, the following months will be interesting. Especially considering the confirmation that new Activision Blizzard games won’t arrive on Xbox Game Pass until 2024. This leaves the possibility of legacy titles appearing in the meantime.