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Business news Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard: Xbox, soon to be the all-powerful master of video games?


business news Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard: Xbox, soon to be the all-powerful master of video games?

It is unprecedented. Without warning and following the indiscretions of the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has just announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty) for a record amount of 69 billion dollars. Subject to the operation being finalized by the competent authorities, Xbox is on the verge of becoming the undisputed master of American video games. A major event.

Christmas has passed for two weeks, and yet Microsoft has just offered a huge gift. Its value: 69 billion dollars, the present in question: Activision Blizzard, one of the most lucrative video game companies in the world, with an overpowering portfolio of intellectual properties (Candy Crush, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft , etc.). In terms of amount, it’s the biggest buyout in the history of the industry. Far ahead of Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield) by Microsoft last year, nearly $8 billion. And the acquisition of Zynga (FarmVille) by publisher Take-Two (GTA) in early January, estimated at $12 billion.

Formalized, not finalized

Crazy sums, ready to make anyone’s head spin. But probably not the Federal Trade Commission, whose role is to assess anti-competitive business practices in the United States (the European Commission will also have its say). Nowadays, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has yet to be finalized, and theoretically still has a chance of not succeeding. In one communicated, Bobby Kotick, current CEO of the company, says that this crucial step will take place in June 2023. Delays of the kind are commonplace: seventeen months for the acquisition of Fox by Disney.

“This market undeniably raises antitrust questions” note on Twitter the journalist Jason Schreier, essential in the middle, evoking a “seismic agreement”. If it comes to an end, this takeover could make Microsoft the biggest player in American video games, stronger still than companies like Electronic Arts (FIFA), Epic Games (Fortnite) and Take-Two. In the past, Microsoft has already had to deal with anti-competitive laws, but in IT, for its Windows operating software. In the United States, a case of this kind in the field of video games would obviously be a first.

Microsoft says it will be the “third-largest games company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony” once the deal closes The Verge, January 18, 2022

Before the official end of the operation, “Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently” precise Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, on the brand’s blog. Furthermore, the man confirmed, in a message relayed by VGC, that the current CEO of the firm bought at a gold price, Bobby Kotick, will remain in his post for the time being. “As soon as the deal is finalized, Activision will report to me” says Phil Spencer. Not sure that Bobby Kotick is still traveling in June 2023, therefore, at the heart of the scandals of sexual harassment in his company, moreover decried by Spencer.

A boosted Game Pass

What is certain, however, are the repercussions that the agreement could have on Microsoft, in terms of its strike force in terms of development first of all. After the Bethesda takeover, Xbox and its 23 studios are set to welcome a dozen more teams, including those that deliver a component of Call of Duty each year, but also others, more mainstream, such as Toys For Bob and Vicarious Visions for example, two studios that recently revived the famous Crash Bandicoot. More than manpower, it is above all an impressive catalog of intellectual properties that Xbox offers: Tony Hawk, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, StarCraft.

Big names perfect for the Xbox Game Pass, which has just crossed 25 million subscribers, Microsoft announced in its press release. Phil Spencer says he wants to include “as many Activision Blizzard games as possible” in the offer, whether “new titles” or games already known. Call of Duty, Overwatch 2, exclusively on Xbox networks? Yes and no : “Microsoft aims to continue to make (release – editor’s note) certain Activision games on PlayStation consoles, but will also keep some exclusive content for Xbox” details a source close to the file to Bloomberg. “Networks”, because we should not forget xCloud, Microsoft’s streaming solution. The company will take advantage of this takeover to “accelerate its plans” in this area, explains Spencer. Already almost unbeatable, the Xbox Game Pass is about to become stronger, even untouchable.

Through India, Journalist jeuxvideo.com

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