Microsoft to Acquire Activision Blizzard in Blockbuster $69 Billion Deal

Microsoft Activision
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Do you hear the sound of a thousand screams over at Sony HQ? If you do, it's because Microsoft just announced that it would buy game publishing powerhouse Activision Blizzard for a staggering $68.7 billion (opens in new tab) ($95/share). To put the acquisition in perspective, Microsoft's largest acquisition to date was LinkedIn, which the company purchased for around $26 billion back in 2016.

With this latest power move in the gaming space, Microsoft will have blockbuster franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Overwatch and countless others under its umbrella. The game studios that will come as part of the deal include Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob and Treyarch. 

And as you might expect, with this flood of new games coming into the Microsoft fold, they will end up on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. According to Microsoft, Activision Blizzard's back catalog, along with new games, will make their way to the respective subscription games services.

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "We're investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all."

"Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them," added Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. "Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want."

(Image credit: Microsoft)

News of Microsoft's latest big move comes after Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in a rash of sexual harassment allegations from employees. CEO Bobby Kotick has been on shaky ground with employees and investors following the sexual misconduct allegations at the company, but he is sticking around in his current position following Microsoft's acquisition. 

"For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games," said Kotick. "The combination of Activision Blizzard's world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft's technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry."

Microsoft is really stacking the deck when it comes to game studios with its Activision Blizzard move, and this comes on the heels of its $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media and Bethesda Softworks in 2020. The company has already made it clear that it has no qualms about making future Bethesda IP exclusive to its Xbox console platforms. We feel that the same will hold true for its forthcoming Activision Blizzard titles.

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • gggplaya
    I wonder if they're really worth that much with their declining player count.

    They're just now breaking even with their $2.5 billion dollar Minecraft "deal." But that's just based on revenue, and doesn't consider operating and ongoing development costs.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    If that means the $15 month-by-month WoW sub becomes $9-10/month Game Pass, it would be a pretty sweet deal for people who still play WoW on an on-going basis. I only play in 3-4 months bursts on new content drops.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    Beat me to it. It will also mean more people paying that subscription, which Microsoft is all about. Why pay once and be done when you can have customers pay for years.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    Microsoft is certainly moving to a subscription model. They want to be the Netflix of games. But I question Activision/Blizzard is really worth that much money? Especially with all the scandals and declining player base. $69 Billion is not chump change.
    Reply
  • kanewolf
    InvalidError said:
    If that means the $15 month-by-month WoW sub becomes $9-10/month Game Pass, it would be a pretty sweet deal for people who still play WoW on an on-going basis. I only play in 3-4 months bursts on new content drops.
    Or GamePass becomes a $19.99 subscription, with the slogan of "$5 cheaper than the previous two subscriptions!!!"
    Reply
  • helper800
    Activision Blizzard has all kinds of IPs they are also attempting to buy, lets not forget that part of the acquisition.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    kanewolf said:
    Or GamePass becomes a $19.99 subscription, with the slogan of "$5 cheaper than the previous two subscriptions!!!"

    Or perhaps they're just hoping with the extensive game library, they bring in the WOW players that only pay for subscriptions after new content updates, but hoping they'll stay on gamepass all year long and never leave.
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    helper800 said:
    Activision Blizzard has all kinds of IPs they are also attempting to buy, lets not forget that part of the acquisition.

    Yea they are going to get a huge amount of IP, from this purchase. As long as they can Bobby Kotick, and don't screw up WoW, I will be happy with this purchase.
    Reply
  • VforV
    Something missing from this site's article, fortunately it is present on other articles and sites:
    This will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company by revenue after Tencent and Sony.
    Even with this huge acquisition they will still be 3rd in the gaming department.

    Anyway, this deal is not worth that much for that pile of **** company, not at all. But if there was anyone willing and able to buy expensive garbage, that would be MS.

    I'm really curious to see if they can turn this garbage into gold or it will be their worst move ever. Time will tell.

    Sony has more work to do, but no, it's not game over yet. Not even close, until that 1st quote remains true.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    helper800 said:
    Activision Blizzard has all kinds of IPs they are also attempting to buy, lets not forget that part of the acquisition.
    Activision-Blizzard-King

    Candy Crush and its derivatives will pay off a good chunk of the acquisition cost.
    Reply