If you thought Microsoft buying ZeniMax Media (parent company of Bethesda) was a big deal, hold onto your hats cowboys because they ain’t done yet! In a blog post on news.xbox.com Phil Spencer announced a plan for Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard. That’s right, Microsoft now owns properties such as Call Of Duty, Warcraft, Starcraft, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch *takes breath* Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot and more.
Spencer said in his blog that “…it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.” He went on to say “We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing…”.
It puts Spencers comments about Activision Blizzard after the Wall Street Journal reported on a culture of harassment and abusive behavior in the company in a new light. Spencer was said to be “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at the company back in November 2021. Given that these types of acquistions don’t come out of the blue, it would be interesting to have been a fly on the wall in acquisition negotiations after that article was released.
Interestingly Spencer also said of plans for Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard that “Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming”. To my inexperienced corporate aquisitions eye, that means rather than reporting to a board made up mostly of his allies, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will report directly to Spencer. If true, this relationship has the potential to help address some of the issues raised in the Wall Street Journal Article.
In terms of what that means for Microsoft, well it means a lot more games that will pop up on Games Pass that’s for sure. I can only hope that it also means an improvement in conditions for the workers at Activision Blizzard.