Activision Blizzard is a gaming giant with a series of famous game franchises such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, and Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater. According to a January 18 announcement from Microsoft, the company will acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion as part of a move to strengthen its gaming and metaverse plans. Following the deal, their games will be added to Microsoft Xbox’s Game Pass service, which has 25 million subscribers.
This deal will terminate in fiscal year 2023, and it will see Microsoft become the third-largest gaming company by revenue, just after Tencent and Playstation developer Sony. The acquisition helps Microsoft grow its services across mobile devices, console PCs, and cloud gaming. The company also announced that it will provide the building blocks for Metaverse.
“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.
Currently, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick still remained at the helm until the deal closed, and the reins will then be handed over to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. In an Xbox blog post, Spencer welcomed the deal and also emphasized that the company is working to make cloud gaming accessible on as many devices as possible. However, he did not mention Metaverse or the NFT – sectors that have seen backlash from some parts of the gaming community.
In November, Nadella first announced Microsoft’s Metaverse plans through an upgrade of its “Teams” service and product called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces”. The “Mesh” upgrade for Teams is set to introduce personalized digital avatars and immersive spaces to meet in Metaverse later this year. Nadella also stated that people can totally expect to see Microsoft integrate Metaverse features with Xbox consoles, but did not reveal any concrete plans or specific details.
It’s unclear whether Microsoft’s Metaverse game for Xbox will include the introduction of NFTs, but Spencer said in November that he feels the experimentation happening in NFTs was more exploitative rather than entertaining. He noted that if the Xbox Store supports NFT, the company will actively remove any nefarious behavior or content.