This week, Microsoft revealed its blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard King (ABK) for $70 billion dollars. ABK are responsible for some of the industry’s biggest franchises, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. The acquisition sent shockwaves through the industry, leading to questions about exactly how the new “Microsoft Gaming” division would handle such a large purchase.
Today, one of the questions was answered. In a tweet, CEO of Microsoft Gaming and leader of Xbox Phil Spencer signaled Microsoft’s intent to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, emphasizing that they see Sony as a partner in the wider gaming industry.
I suspected personally that this might be the case. Call of Duty is a truly massive franchise and its annualization makes it something of a near-tradition within the industry. Millions of gamers would experience significant disruption from Call of Duty suddenly being yanked from their console of choice, and that struck me as something Microsoft wouldn’t be about, particularly when you consider how Microsoft kept Minecraft on multiple platforms.
Spencer has been conducting various interviews this week about the acquisition. He seemed to imply during another interview today that he’d like to revive dormant Activision Blizzard IP, such as Skylanders, Starcraft, and even 90s shooter Hexen. Microsoft also discussed how this acquisition furthers its ability to compete in any prospective future “Metaverse,” being explored by competing tech companies. Microsoft also noted that they intend to include many of Activision’s games directly into Xbox Game Pass.
After years of being plagued with scandals, lawsuits, and mismanagement, Activision’s talented and passionate employees desperately need and deserve a change in leadership, and it’s my feeling at least that this acquisition is only going to be a good thing for the legendary company.