Microsoft has announced that it intends to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that will make Microsoft one of the largest gaming companies in the world. With the deal popular game franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatchand others will be in the fold of Microsoft’s ever-expanding portfolio of studios, along with Bethesda and its own Xbox Game Studios.
Also included as part of the deal is King, the creators of Candy Crush, signaling that Microsoft could use the company to compete in the mobile space. In early 2021, Take-Two Interactive (which houses developers such as 2K, Private Division, and Rockstar Games) purchased Zynga for $12.7 billion.
Although the deal did not go through, Microsoft’s intention to acquire Activision Blizzard raises questions about antitrust rules and how Microsoft can manage Activision Blizzard’s toxic company culture and make adjustments to the role of its management to promote a fair work environment going forward . The acquisition was announced after several high-profile sexual harassment lawsuits were filed against Activision Blizzard, and in July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for fostering a culture of “persistent sexual harassment”.
On Dec. 8, the Federal Trade Commission announced it was suing Microsoft to block the deal, saying, “We seek to prevent Microsoft from gaining control of a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.” Microsoft vice president and chairman Brad Smith responded by saying, “We’ve been committed from day one to addressing competition concerns, including by offering proposed concessions to the FTC earlier this week. Although we believed in giving peace a chance, we have full confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest news on the big acquisition here, with reports that question how the world of gaming could change (in good ways and in bad ways) with one of the biggest third-party game studios owned by Microsoft .