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Microsoft Finalizes Its $68.7 Billion Activision Blizzard Acquisition, Bobby Kotick Will Stay On As CEO Until The End Of 2023

Took some time to put this Gaming Infinity Gem into Microsoft's Gauntlet

After almost 21 months since Microsoft announced its $68.7 Billion Activision Blizzard acquisition, that deal and, honestly, this long saga has finally come to a close as IPs like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush Spyro The Dragon, and more are now under the Xbox brand alongside 30+ game studios and an estimated 17,000 employees from the Activision, Blizzard, and King slices of the publisher, according to The Verge.

“We love gaming. We play games, create games, and know first-hand how much gaming means to all of us as individuals and collectively as a community. And today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said in a tweet following the completion of the acquisition.

“As one team, we’ll learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people. We’ll do this in a culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work, where all people are welcome, and is centred on our ongoing commitment of Gaming for Everyone.”

Microsoft found itself elongating the period on this deal due to legal battles that led to winning a US court case with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Over the year, the Xbox-owned company has gotten permission from other countries’ regulator entities for the Activision Blizzard deal. Still, the UK was its biggest battle as the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initially blocked the deal in late April.DkkWqIA

Following its win with the FTC, Microsoft went to great lengths to move the Cloud streaming aspects (through Ubisoft) of the deal around, which led to the CMA giving their OK. That ultimately led to the final hurdle that Microsoft overcame to acquire Activision Blizzard officially. For gaming, this is the biggest acquisition ever, which is just a little over nine times the cost of Microsoft’s $7.5 billion Bethesda acquisition from 2021.

Over the summer, Microsoft lamented itself as “ranking third place in the console wars” as a part of its legal battles to give credence to it isn’t trying to create a monopoly with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard but instead using it as a way to compete with the likes of Nintendo and Sony in the market share of gamers. It’s not the only third place Microsoft earned. Now, with the acquisition done, Microsoft is set to be the “third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick won’t be a part of the publisher’s new era under Microsoft after 2023.

“I have long said that I am fully committed to helping with the transition. Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players,” Kotick said in an email.

Similar to the conclusion of the Bethesda deal, Microsoft is planning to add Activsioon Blizzard King games to its Game Pass service and other platforms in the near future. Whatever those games will end up being, don’t expect Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo IV to be included as Activision Blizzard said those games won’t be coming to Game Pass this year; after in 2024 might be a different story, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“Today, we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months. We know you’re excited – and we are too,” Spencer added.