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Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68 billion (Updated)

Update: Bobby Kotick's role under Microsoft is a bit unclear.
By
January 18, 2022
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Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
  • The deal will also see Activision Blizzard titles come to Game Pass.
  • Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s future role remains uncertain.

Update, January 18, 2022 (12:22 PM ET): Microsoft responded to our query about Bobby Kotick’s role at Activision Blizzard after the Microsoft acquisition. Here is the company’s full response:

Bobby will lead Activision Blizzard as CEO, as he has for the last 30 years. Together, Bobby and [Microsoft Gaming CEO] Phil Spencer will work together to ensure the transition to this exciting new combined enterprise. The Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil after the close.

The statement doesn’t make Kotick’s future role at Xbox/Activision Blizzard too clear. One could read the statement as Kotick simply retaining his CEO position until the transition is complete. However, he could retain the position after the transition. The statement is quite open-ended.


Original article, January 18, 2022 (09:09 AM ET): Microsoft hasn’t been shy about acquiring new video game studios in recent years, having bought Zenimax Media in a $7.5 billion last year. However, that deal now seems like peanuts as the company has just announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft revealed in a press statement that it would acquire Activision Blizzard in a cash deal valued at a massive $68.7 billion. This also makes it the biggest deal in the company’s history, dwarfing 2016’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.  The Redmond company adds that when the deal closes, it’ll be the third biggest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

Activision Blizzard is home to franchises such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, Starcraft, and Warcraft.

What does this deal mean?

The Redmond company also confirmed plans to bring Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass on PC and Xbox as part of the deal. It also announced that its subscription service has crossed the 25 million subscriber threshold.

Does this mean Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard franchises will be exclusive to Xbox and PC then? The statement didn’t shed any light on this, but Xbox chief Phil Spencer previously said that the $7.5 billion deal to acquire Zenimax Media was about bringing exclusive titles to Game Pass.

What does this deal mean for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick though? The executive has been implicated in covering up abuse and sexual harassment at the company, and allegedly threatened to kill an employee.

“Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth,” read an excerpt of the statement.

We asked Xbox representatives about Kotick’s role under new ownership and whether Activision Blizzard games will be exclusive to Xbox and PC. We will update the article if/when they get back to us.