Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick still CEO

Microsoft introduced its largest sport studio acquisition but on Tuesday, because it plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

Activision Blizzard’s largest sport franchises embrace “Name of Responsibility,” “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” and “Overwatch.” The acquisition additionally contains “Sweet Crush” developer King together with the esports group Main League Gaming.

If permitted, the deal could be Microsoft’s most costly sport studio acquisition by far. The corporate bought ZeniMax Media (“Elder Scrolls,” “Doom”) for $8.1 billion final yr, and purchased “Minecraft” developer Mojang in 2014 for $2.5 billion. In recent times, Microsoft has additionally purchased up a string of smaller studios, together with Ninja Concept, Obsidian Leisure, and Double Advantageous Productions.

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Microsoft’s press launch doesn’t straight tackle the elephant within the room: Final yr, the state of California sued Activision Blizzard after a two-year investigation, citing widespread sexual harassment and discrimination towards girls on the firm. Though CEO Bobby Kotick initially downplayed or denied his consciousness of these allegations to administrators and executives, a Wall Street Journal report from November claimed that he knew of the corporate’s issues for years.

On the time, Microsoft vp of gaming Phil Spencer told staff that he was “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific occasions and actions” at Activision Blizzard, and that Microsoft was “evaluating all points of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive changes.”

Nonetheless, Kotick will proceed to function Activision Blizzard’s CEO, although it’s unsure if that can change after the deal closes.

Additionally unclear is what sort of antitrust scrutiny the acquisition will appeal to from regulators. Microsoft says the deal will make it the third-largest gaming firm in income behind Tencent and Sony, however additional consolidation may have an effect on players’ skill to play the most well-liked video games on the platforms of their selecting. Working example: “Starfield,” a extremely anticipated sci-fi sport from ZeniMax’s Bethesda Sport Studios, will be an Xbox exclusive when it launches in November.