Just when I thought Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax/ Bethesda for $7.5 billion back in September 2020 was a colossal amount of money, it was recently announced that the company is about to buy Activision/Blizzard for a staggering $69 billion. This is the biggest acquisition in gaming history and, subject to FTC anti-trust scrutiny, should it go through, it can only be a boon to those who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass and own Xbox gaming consoles. The Call Of Duty franchise alone is a big deal and Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft has become legendary.
But Activision has been embroiled in controversy over sexual misconduct allegations with CEO (since 1991) Bobby Kotick allegedly fully aware of behaviour said to have been carried out by members of his staff. Either way, he stands to end up a multi-millionaire when the deal is done, if he isn’t already, that is.
Microsoft already has a deal with Electronic Arts (EA) to include their games such as the Battlefield, Crysis, and Need For Speed series in Game Pass, so it’s clear that the company’s aim is to become the leading player in game delivery. It also makes a lot of budgetary sense to pay a monthly fee, as I do, instead of shelling out $60 for a game you may end up hardly ever playing. For £7.99 a month, I get to play over a hundred games which, if I don’t like, I can always uninstall.
Acquisitions such as this can be viewed as monopolistic, but if you’re a Game Pass subscriber or Xbox owner, it has to be good news, which is presumably what Microsoft is banking on.