Taking the gaming community by surprise, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, which is in line with the company’s plans to ramp up its gaming and the Metaverse. Gamers are familiar with the gaming giant Activision Blizzard, as it is responsible for releasing countless iconic gaming franchises like Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and many more.
As a part of the deal, all of the games in Activision Blizzard’s repertoire are set to be added to Microsoft Xbox’s Game Pass service, making these titles available to 25 million subscribers. According to Microsoft’s announcement on January 18, the firm will be acquiring Activision Blizzard for $95 per share, with a valuation worth $68.7 billion.
The two companies will be officially closing the deal by the 2023 fiscal year, which means Microsoft will officially become the third-largest gaming company according to revenue, with Tencent and Sony in the lead.
Microsoft details that the company will be able to support and keep growing its services across different devices and platforms with this acquisition. Not only that, it will apparently “provide building blocks for the Metaverse.” According to Satya Nadella, the CEO and chairman of Microsoft:
For now, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will still be leading the company at least until the deal officially closes. Afterward, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer will take the reins. Spencer also expressed his support for the deal in a recent Xbox blog post, highlighting that Microsoft is working hard to make cloud gaming more accessible on more devices.
Notably, he didn’t mention NFTs or the Metaverse in his post, two sectors in the crypto industry that have seen incredible backlash from gamers.
Nadella initially revealed Microsoft’s Metaverse plans back in November by releasing an upgrade for its service called “Teams.” Other than that, the company also released a new product at the same time called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.” For the Teams upgrade, the new “Mesh” feature brings personalized digital avatars to the table, along with immersive spaces where people can meet up within the Metaverse.
Nadella also mentioned that people could “absolutely expect” Microsoft to integrate Metaverse-related features with the Xbox. However, he didn’t reveal any specifics or solid plans regarding the matter.
We have yet to see if Microsoft’s Metaverse plans for the Xbox will also include NFTs, especially since Spencer once said that NFTs felt more “exploitative than about entertainment.” If the Xbox Store does choose to support NFTs in the future, Spencer notes that they would most likely eliminate any malicious content or behavior.