Fans are heralding the acquisition of the saviour of many Activision Blizzard titles, from World of Warcraft, to Call of Duty, and Overwatch.

Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard according to reports that surfaced earlier today (January 18th). In news first reported by The Wall Street Journal, before being corroborated by a post on the Microsoft website, the Windows developer will acquire the publisher of games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty, in a deal worth over $70 billion.

The all-cash transaction will see Microsoft pay $68.7 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Activision Blizzard. This is on top of an additional “breakup fee” of $3 billion. The deal will see Microsoft become the third largest video game company by revenue in the world, behind only Sony and Tencent. 

The move will also see Microsoft become the force behind the Blizzard, Activision, and King. This puts Microsoft in control of numerous iconic esports franchises and IPs including Call of Duty, Warcraft, StarCraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Major League Gaming. The company will also inherit the likes of Candy Crush, Diablo, Spyro the Dragon, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and plenty more familiar titles.

Microsoft gets a Bargain

Microsoft inherits a host of problems from Activision Blizzard (Image via Coolcaesar)

Observers and fans of Activision Blizzard titles will be all too familiar with the recent woes of the company. Amid broad claims of harassment and abuse within the company, employees staged walkouts, and the CEO Bobby Kotick faces ongoing allegations, as the company reportedly hides the worst of its problems.

Beyond this there’s complaints from the players of many of Activision Blizzard’s titles. World of Warcraft’s declining player base is frequently outspoken on the many issues with the game. Call of Duty pros have complaints about the competitive format, and many prominent figures flat out hate Warzone. 

All this has led many to think that Microsoft may have scooped a deal. Especially as the share price of Activision Blizzard hit a record high in January 2021. Only to fall to three year low in December of the same year. But even with such a bargain, Microsoft will be inheriting a plethora of problems with its purchase.

Rare Optimism for Players

Listing its leadership team with the press release, Microsoft made a bold statement about the future of Activision Blizzard (image via Microsoft)

Mergers and acquisitions aren’t the most riveting pieces of news for gamers. But when it comes to Activision Blizzard, it could be the piece of good news players have waited for years to hear. Activision’s 2008 merger with Blizzard is what many point to as the decline of the latter game studio. Blizzard at the time was one of the highest regarded developers in gaming.

Another merger, to fix the one that went so bad isn’t so far fetched. Microsoft clearly has some sense of what its consumers want. Xbox Game Pass reportedly hit around 18 million subscribers in 2021. The Xbox One sold around 50 million units, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer certainly talks a good game.

All of this combined seems to suggest that the acquisition is a move in the right direction. Something rare for Activision Blizzard in recent years. And while the creation of Disney-like monopolies that control all of gaming is concerning, right it all sounds like good news. 

Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.