Microsoft announced that it intends to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that will make Microsoft one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. With the deal, popular gaming franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, and more will be in the fold of Microsoft’s ever-expanding portfolio of studios, alongside Bethesda and its own Xbox Game Studios. Also included as part of the deal is King, the makers of Candy Crush, signaling that Microsoft may utilize the company to compete in the mobile space. In early 2021, Take-Two Interactive (which houses developers like 2K, Private Division, and Rockstar Games) purchased Zynga for $12.7 billion.
Though the deal hasn’t come to pass, Microsoft’s intent to acquire Activision Blizzard raises questions around antitrust and around how Microsoft might steer Activision Blizzard’s toxic company culture and make adjustments to its leadership’s role to promote an equitable work environment moving forward. In recent months, there have been several high-profile claims of sexual harassment levied against Activision Blizzard, and in July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.”
We’ll be keeping you updated with the latest news on the big acquisition here, with reports that interrogate how the gaming world might change (in good ways and in bad ways) with one of the largest third-party game studios under Microsoft’s ownership.