Microsoft acquires Activision, becomes world’s third largest game companyVish Gainon January 18, 2022 at 14:44 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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Microsoft has snapped up Activision Blizzard, the video game giant behind Call of Duty and Candy Crush, in a deal valued at $68.7bn today (18 January).

The acquisition makes Microsoft, already a strong player in the space with Xbox, the world’s third largest video game company by revenue after Tencent and Sony.

Satya Nadella, chief executive of the world’s largest software maker, said that the acquisition will help Microsoft in the “dynamic and exciting” world of gaming, playing “a key role in the development of metaverse platforms”.

“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,” he said.

Activision is one of the world’s most well-known video game publishers. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the company has produced some major gaming franchise hits such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Tony Hawk’s and StarCraft.

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as Activision chief executive, focusing on strengthening the company’s culture and accelerating business growth while reporting to Microsoft Gaming chief executive Phil Spencer once the deal is closed in 2023.

“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” said Spencer of the acquisition. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”

Microsoft has been taking big strides in the gaming space to prepare itself for entertainment in the metaverse. Last August, it added its cloud-gaming service to several Xbox consoles, allowing users to stream games online before downloading them onto the device.

Earlier in March, it got approval from the EU to acquire video game company Bethesda for $7.5bn. And last month, Google announced that it will soon launch a Play Games app for Windows to play Android games on laptops, tablets and PCs.

With nearly 10,000 employees in studios across the world, Activision is a gaming behemoth – but not one without its fair share of controversies. It has been under fire in recent months for allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct among company executives, leading to the firing of more than three dozen employees.

Last July, Activision employees protested the “abhorrent and insulting” response from company leadership to a lawsuit that exposed serious allegations of sexism and harassment at the company.

The next month, company president J Allen Brack stepped down amid sponsor withdrawals, class-action lawsuits and further resignations, despite Activision beating Wall Street earnings expectations.

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