Microsoft acquires Activision, the troubled publisher of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. The deal will value Activision at $ 68.7 billion, well above the $ 26 billion Microsoft paid to buy LinkedIn in 2016. It is Microsoft's biggest push for gaming, and the company says it will be the "third largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony "when the agreement is closed.
Microsoft plans to add many of Activision's games to the Xbox Game Pass when the deal closes. With the acquisition of Activision, Microsoft will soon release franchises like Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy destruction. "When we're done, we'll be offering as many Activision Blizzard games as we can in Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard's incredible catalog," said Microsoft's CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer.
Xbox Game Pass now has 25 million subscribers as Microsoft continues to acquire studios to boost the subscription service.
Microsoft's deal comes after months of allegations of sexual harassment against Activision Blizzard. Last July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of "constant sexual harassment." Several employees have come forward with several allegations of sexual misconduct ever since, and the company reached a $ 18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September. That settlement is being appealed, and reports suggest that nearly 40 Activision Blizzard employees have reportedly "left" the company since July last year.
Microsoft does not describe exactly how it will approach the resolution of these issues, and the company says Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard until further notice. However, it appears that Kotick will not remain when the agreement is completely closed and after the transition period to Microsoft. Phil Spencer, former head of gaming at Microsoft, is now CEO of Microsoft Gaming, and the company says the Activision Blizzard business will report directly to Spencer.
"As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey of inclusion in all aspects of gaming, among both employees and gamers," said Microsoft CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer. "We deeply appreciate individual study cultures. We also believe that creative success and independence go hand in hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams and all leaders to this commitment. We look forward to expanding our culture. for proactive inclusion for the amazing teams across Activision Blizzard. "
Microsoft's huge Activision Blizzard deal comes almost a year after the company bought Bethesda (ZeniMax Media) for 7.5 billion. At the time, this acquisition strengthened the company's first-party Xbox game studios to a total of 23, and it was seen as a huge boost for the Xbox Game Pass.