We don’t often cover non-Nintendo-specific news here, but sometimes a headline is just too big to ignore. Today (18 January 2022) Microsoft confirmed that they were in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for just under $70 billion. This is pretty staggering news. On the more serious (and negative) side of things, some industry experts (like Jason Schreier here) have already warned about what this purchase could mean in terms of monopolisation. Also, a big talking point is understandably related to Bobby Kotick’s future. On that front, nothing is confirmed yet and the official line is that, at least for now, he “will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard… [then] Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer”.
What this means for Xbox:
On the purely gaming front though, after Microsoft’s earlier purchase of Bethesda, this is yet another huge move for Xbox. To put it into some context, if/when this deal goes through this means that not only will IPs like World of Warcraft, Call Of Duty, StarCraft and Overwatch now fall under the Xbox umbrella but also mobile giants Candy Crush too. And for Nintendo-adjacent news, even studios like Toys For Bob and Vicarious Visions which were recently responsible for bringing back Crash Bandicoot and Spyro (a few games of which you may even have played on the Switch) will now be Xbox Studios. And, like the Bethesda titles before them, it’s likely that these will eventually become Xbox exclusives. And while that may not be the best news if you are solely a Nintendo gamer – the fact that the news release confirms that Activision Blizzard games will be joining Game Pass – there’s now perhaps even more reason to consider Xbox as your second console 😉
While it does seem likely that this deal will go through it should be noted that the press release did say that the “transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review… expected to close in fiscal year 2023”.