If you thought Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda last year was an industry-shaking event for the ages, it might be a good idea to take a seat on the nearest flat surface for this one. As officially announced earlier today by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, the software giant has just closed out a deal which, when complete, will see Activision Blizzard wholly owned by the former.
The wild news comes mere minutes after Bloomberg’s Dina Bass let slip on Twitter that the deal was currently nearing its final stages, with Microsoft reportedly dropping a whopping $70 billion to take control of the company. This figure, while believable for a company the size of Activision Blizzard, has yet to be confirmed, however, so the official figure could be higher or lower.
In confirming the landmark acquisition, Spencer clarified that “Until the transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Further, upon closure, Spencer says the company will offer as many games produced and published by Activision Blizzard through Game Pass as possible, including those yet to be released.
All in all, then, Microsoft has essentially established itself as the gaming equivalent of Disney, and it’ll be fascinating to see not only how Sony responds to this development, but the impact new ownership will have on Acti-Blizz’s well-documented issues with, to put it lightly, workplace misconduct. Watch this space.