Source: Microsoft/Activision Blizzard

The controversy-plagued Activision Blizzard will soon be under new ownership.

Microsoft revealed plans to acquire the company behind Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and more in a deal valued at $68.7 billion. The deal, subject to customary regulatory and Activision shareholder approval, is set to close in the 2023 fiscal year.

Bringing Activision Blizzard into the Microsoft family creates an instant content powerhouse for the cross-device Xbox platform and provides what the company is calling “the building blocks for the metaverse.” Microsoft also says that it plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into its Game Pass subscription platform.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” says Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community, and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all.”

Related: U.S. Video Game Sales Dip as ‘Call of Duty’ Season Begins, Console Availability Declines

Upon the close of the deal, Microsoft will own 30 internal game development studios that operate alongside additional esports and publishing teams.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, a figure central to the ongoing culture issues at the company, is expected to stay in his current role and will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. In a press release, the company said that Kotick will be focused on “driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth.”

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.