In a complex deal, Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard are one step closer to consummating this massive merger following approval by US and EU authorities. However, since the UK Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) blocked the deal earlier this year over cloud gaming concerns, the agreement has been extended to October 18th, 2023.
Why Am I Writing About This Merger?
Well, it’s the biggest deal in gaming history, one the largest corporate mergers in recent years and it’s ruffled feathers throughout the industry. Many worry that Microsoft will become too powerful and monopolise a large sector of the gaming industry.
Who Is Activision Blizzard?
They own Call Of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft which are some of the most popular games in the world. Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 (COD – MW2) made $1BN during its first weekend of sales and millions of players spend billions of dollars on subscriptions and in-game content such as loot boxes.
Mobile Games Are Huge Revenue Earners
43% of Activision Blizzard’s revenue for Q2 2023 came from mobile games – that’s around $1.9BN, so it wouldn’t take a genius to work out how long it would take Microsoft to recoup its investment.
Why Is Sony So Concerned?
Sony’s PlayStation easily outsells Microsoft’s XBox and Sony is worried that many of its games will no longer be available for its best-selling console, especially considering that more than half of the sales of COD-MW2 were for the PlayStation. However, Microsoft has signed a deal promising that COD games will be available for Nintendo and Sony consoles.
On the other hand, back in 2020, Microsoft paid $7.5BN for Bethesda – DOOM, Fallout, and Skyrim – and then announced that some of Bethesda’s games will be Xbox exclusives.
Good News For GamePass Subscribers
Game Pass is a Netflix-style subscription service that costs me around $10 per month and I have a choice of hundreds of games to play, including titles from Bethesda and Electronic Arts. If this deal goes through, we will also have access to games from Activision Blizzard. For me and many other gamers, this is a win-win because forking out $60 for a AAA game becomes an expensive hobby, especially if that game doesn’t come up to scratch or one loses interest. It’s almost a try before you buy, except it’s unlimited.