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Microsoft finally closes Activision Blizzard deal, welcomes PS5 players

Microsoft previously pledged to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years.

Published onOctober 13, 2023

Joes Xbox Series X 4
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Microsoft crossed the final regulatory hurdle in its deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.
  • Activision, Blizzard, and King now join the company’s ever-expanding stable of studios.
  • Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will stay on until the end of the year.

In January 2022, Microsoft made a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. After over a year and a half, with many legal battles fought in between, the tech giant has finally officially closed the deal as of today and will add a number of games to Game Pass.

On October 13, the UK CMA approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. With its final regulatory hurdle crossed, Microsoft will now add Activision, Blizzard, and King to its ever-expanding stable of game studios.

Before the deal, Microsoft managed a total of 23 game studios that included the likes of 343 Industries, Ninja Theory, Bethesda, Arkane, and more. Now Microsoft has over 50 studios under its wing that should greatly boost the offerings for the Xbox Series X and S.

Microsoft game studios
Tom Warren

In a blog post, Xbox head Phil Spencer addressed the buyout and what it means for Xbox moving forward. Spencer said:

As promised, we will also continue to make more games available in more places – and that begins now by enabling cloud streaming providers and players to stream Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area, a commitment made to the European Commission. Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months.

In addition, Spencer extended an olive branch to players on PlayStation and Nintendo, stating, “you are welcome here — and will remain welcome, even if Xbox isn’t where you play your favorite franchise.” There was concern that Microsoft would turn franchises like Call of Duty into exclusives, but the company pledged it would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next 10 years. However, it did not make the same pledge with other Activision Blizzard games.

Controversial Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s tenure at the company was expected to end sometime after the deal was complete. It appears Kotick will stay on until the end of the year to help with the transition.

“I have long said that I am fully committed to helping with the transition,” Kotick said in an email sent to staff. “Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players.”

Once Kotick leaves Activision Blizzard, he is expected to receive a massive “golden parachute” to the tune of at least $15 million, according to financial documents.

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