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.”
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.”