Author Topic: Microsoft Enters Into Agreement To Acquire Activision Blizzard For US$68.7bn  (Read 2269 times)

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Offline Shaymin

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That's roughly 9.1 Bethesdas.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/59412/microsoft-enters-into-agreement-to-acquire-activision-blizzard-for-us687bn

Microsoft has taken another Western third party off the market in the largest video game acquisition ever.

The Redmond giant has entered into an agreement to purchase Activision Blizzard in a US$68.7bn deal, the largest all gaming acquisition in history. No closing date was given for the deal, and the current Activision Blizzard board including embattled CEO Bobby Kotick will remain on board until the closing of the deal, when Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer will become the head of the company.

Activision Blizzard was rocked by scandal through most of 2021 related to conduct of senior executives at the company ranging from sexual harassment to death threats, including multi-million dollar settlements with several state and federal regulating agencies. Currently, testers at Wisconsin-based Raven Studios are striking in protest of unfair termination of employees in December.

There were no Activision Blizzard games known to be in development for Switch, and none released since the remaster of Diablo II last September.

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Offline Luigi Dude

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Even though I'm no fan of Activision, this is terrible news for the industry.  At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft buys EA and Ubisoft next.

They're making sure next time they pull the "no more used games and always online BS", that gamers wont have much a choice.  Anyone that thinks Microsoft has changed is delusional.  The fact they're willing to spend 70 billion to buy one of the Top 3 biggest third party publishers shows that play time is over.  All the smaller studio buyouts these last several years was already worrying, but the Bethesda buyout was a major red flag.  Well this news just confirms it's a matter of time before Microsoft owns a majority of the gaming industry.

Hopefully they'll start getting busted for anti-trust violations, but considering how much of traditional media companies like Disney have been able to buy up in their fields, I wouldn't count on it.  :-\
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Offline Ian Sane

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This isn't encouraging but not really surprising.  If you look in other fields like book publishing, music labels or movie studios the industry ultimately settles down to a handful of major companies that own almost everything.  So for it to eventually occur with videogames was probably inevitable.  Nintendo is actually kind of an oddity in that they're still just a videogame company and aren't owned by a larger holding company and haven't become one themselves.

The whole situation makes you wonder if the future is actually that third party support as a concept effectively doesn't exist.  The publishers could effectively be owned by the companies that make the consoles and each console's library is all exclusives.

Offline UncleBob

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I don't think that's where we're headed at all.

I think as far as AAA-budgeted titles go, yeah, I can see that - major big-budget games being funded and published by one of the big three as a console-exclusive.

But damn, we have so many great and amazing "indie" titles.  Outside of first-party Nintendo games, just about all I play now are indie titles.  And sure, you'll have the occasional indie studio snatched up by Microsoft/Sony, but for every one that is, five more will release games and maybe one of those will actually be good.

The future of gaming has never looked brighter to me and the acquisition of Activision hasn't changed anything.  Heck, last Activision game I bought was Skylanders anyway. 🤣
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Offline ThePerm

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By Publisher

Microsoft
Halo, Fable, Forza, Age of Empires, Gears of War, Mech Warrior

Activision
Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Tony Hawk Franchise,


Blizzard
Warcraft, Starcraft, Overwatch, Diablo

Bethesda
Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dishonored

King
Candy Crush, Farm Heroes

Id
Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, Commander Keen, Heretic and Hexen, Prey

Mojang
Minecraft

Rare
Banjo Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Viva Piniata, Grabbed By the Ghoulies, Killer Instinct

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Genre

Shooters
Doom, Halo, Wolfenstein, Call of Duty, Perfect Dark, Quake, Overwatch

Strategy Games
Age of Empires, Warcraft, StarCraft

Fantasy/ Role Playing
Warcraft, Elder Scrolls, Fable, Diablo, Minecraft

Platformers
Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Banjo Kazooie, Pitfall, Conker

Crafts
Starcraft, Warcraft, Minecraft
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Offline UncleBob

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>Heretic and Hexen

The rights to these titles are a tangled web, but Raven is generally cnsidered to be the primary holder, correct?
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Offline ThePerm

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>Heretic and Hexen

The rights to these titles are a tangled web, but Raven is generally cnsidered to be the primary holder, correct?

I think Activision owned Raven. So, whatever problems Id had with getting new Hexen and Heretic games out are now not a problem.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 02:57:14 PM by ThePerm »
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Offline Adrock

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I was pretty surprised when I read this news earlier. It won’t affect my gaming habits much, if at all. I’m not really into any of Activision Blizzard’s games. Despite Microsoft’s shopping spree, its first party offerings are still thoroughly unappealing to me.

From a general consumer perspective, this is one of the worst case scenarios. Microsoft bought two major Western publishers within a year. Not great. At the same time, Microsoft hasn’t been coy about its intentions. It doesn’t really want to make Xbox consoles; Game Pass is its endgame.

Anyway, this is as good a time as any to clean house at Activision Blizzard and improve working conditions and company culture.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 06:33:05 PM by Adrock »

Offline broodwars

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This can only end poorly, either with Microsoft's routine managerial incompetence driving them down even more or just with the general contraction of the industry in general. I'm not a big Activision Blizzard fan, but it's never good when a major publisher gets bought up by a company for the sole reason of denying their games to everyone else.

Must be nice to be able to just blow tens of billions of dollars on various companies in order to drive the price of the remaining ones up so your competitors are eventually driven out of the market, and not even miss it. Must be nice to be able to just buy an industry.

Yeah, I'm not a Microsoft fan. I do look forward to all the gaming pundits who constantly either downplay or demean the role of "exclusives" lapping this one up because "LOL! GAMEPASS IS SUCH A BARGAIN!"

This can only end poorly. I suppose the only way it could have been worse would have been if Tencent (or whatever they're calling themselves these days to escape the taint of the "Tencent" name) bought them.
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Offline ThePerm

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If we look back a few years ago the talk used to be "Microsoft has no exclusives" Now it has a full library. I imagine they'll become more franchise oriented and less experimental.

This might trigger a bidding war between Nintendo and Sony for Japanese third parties.

I also recently played with an Oculus Quest 2, and I can see why when they were on network news why Microsoft/Activision Blizzard were buzzed about the metaverse.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 07:15:15 PM by ThePerm »
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Offline Adrock

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Nintendo isn't bidding for Japanese third parties. It'll let Sony buy them then hire all the people who leave to start their own companies. Nintendo wants the talent, not the existing IPs. It seems perfectly content funding projects, particularly for exclusivity and the rights to those games, without being financially responsible for the companies themselves.

Offline ThePerm

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Nintendo isn't bidding for Japanese third parties. It'll let Sony buy them then hire all the people who leave to start their own companies. Nintendo wants the talent, not the existing IPs. It seems perfectly content funding projects, particularly for exclusivity and the rights to those games, without being financially responsible for the companies themselves.

You're right in that it hasn't been their style. That's not something Nintendo usually would do. However, there are a few companies who have been integral over the years in the success of Nintendo platforms whose absence would hurt Nintendo. I think Nintendo should find a way to secure Square Enix content at the very least. And I do remember Nintendo was positioning itself to buy more Bandai Namco stock.

This isn't something that needs to be done immediately, but 3 years in the future the market is going to be a different place then it was the last 5 years. They did express interest in opening their war chest relatively recently and acquiring some companies though. If Sony gets scared of Microsoft and buys all the Japanese companies then Nintendo will go back to having no third party support. And that doesn't mean Nintendo will go anywhere. They could lose money every year until 2059 before they run out of money. Nintendo is in a similar position, albeit better, compared to where Wii was when it was ending. They're on top, but transitioning from one hardware to the other can be disastrous if flubbed.
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Offline broodwars

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If Sony gets scared of Microsoft and buys all the Japanese companies then Nintendo will go back to having no third party support. And that doesn't mean Nintendo will go anywhere. They could lose money every year until 2059 before they run out of money. Nintendo is in a similar position, albeit better, compared to where Wii was when it was ending. They're on top, but transitioning from one hardware to the other can be disastrous if flubbed.

I don't think Nintendo has to worry about Sony buying the major Japanese publishers. For one thing, Sony as it currently exists isn't really a Japanese company anymore. They moved their corporate headquarters to San Francisco. They nuked Sony Japan into oblivion after withholding resources from them for years. The only games they make anymore are ultra-budget 3rd person action stealth games with RPG elements. They practically abandoned Japan in the Twilight Years of the PS4 and especially now with the PS5. For all intents and purposes, they're a Western company now. Going back and buying companies that don't fit their current corporate culture just doesn't make sense, much as it would benefit them.

Beyond that, though, Sony just flat out doesn't have those kind of resources to make a big bid for one of the big Japanese powerhouses like Square Enix; Capcom; or Sega, especially with Microsoft driving up the price by overbidding on the likes of Bethesda and Activision Blizzard. There's a reason all their acquisitions last year were modest investments in small studios they had a great working history with. The best they could hope for would be a Squaresoft/Enix-style merger with Square Enix, and I don't see THAT mobile-obsessed entity abandoning the most lucrative dedicated gaming handheld market in Japan. Do you?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 08:49:32 PM by broodwars »
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Offline ThePerm

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It's hard to say in Sony's case. While ps4 sold 116 million units, it only sold 10 million units in Japan. Sony might see its failure in Japan as a place to improve. Also, I don't think these companies buying another company would mean that a subsidiary would have to abandon a handheld or mobile market.

Currently, Sony seems to be suffering from a lot of the same problems Nintendo suffered from during the n64 era. Instead of cartridges vs cds, its covid and supply issues. I also own a ps4 so, that must be some sort of curse.

That's the thing. I see the next 3 years as a transition. I just recently played on an Oculus Quest, and I have always been a vr skeptic, and it was really cool. maybe it won't be Sony buying Japanese companies. Maybe Meta will buy Sony? Or at least the Playstation brand. That is what Facebook does. They just buy their competitors. maybe that's why Sony relocated to San Francisco? Maybe that was just a step for getting bought out.
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Offline stevey

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Consolidation is never a good thing. Every time it happens (banking, electronics, the web, media, etc) quality and innovation go down, prices increase, ever new ways to extract money are added, controls and limits enforced, and they always view their customers with disdain. There's still alternatives but the world would have been a better place if it never happened in the first place.

Hopefully, this is the end. I don't see Sony buying Japanese studios as Japanese studios hate Sony and are jumping on the Switch train like crazy.
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Offline ThePerm

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Consolidation is never a good thing. Every time it happens (banking, electronics, the web, media, etc) quality and innovation go down, prices increase, ever new ways to extract money are added, controls and limits enforced, and they always view their customers with disdain. There's still alternatives but the world would have been a better place if it never happened in the first place.

Hopefully, this is the end. I don't see Sony buying Japanese studios as Japanese studios hate Sony and are jumping on the Switch train like crazy.

Pro Wrestling has never been the same since WWF bought WCW. Now they're WWE and they're terrible. On top of that UFC is better because it's a real competition.
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Offline nickmitch

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This news could potentially mean that the remaining third parties, especially ones with lower market caps, might be targets for future acquisitions. But I think Activision Blizzard was in a place where being sold might've presented the easiest path to cleaning house. I wouldn't worry too much about over-consolidation in the industry. The buyout doesn't really hurt Nintendo, especially with MS being somewhat friendly to Nintendo in recent years, since Nintendo doesn't compete directly.

I'm interested to see how this affects esports down the line.
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Offline Super KYTim89

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Disappointed that Microsoft didn't buy Electronic Arts.

Offline nickmitch

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Consolidation is never a good thing. Every time it happens (banking, electronics, the web, media, etc) quality and innovation go down, prices increase, ever new ways to extract money are added, controls and limits enforced, and they always view their customers with disdain. There's still alternatives but the world would have been a better place if it never happened in the first place.

Hopefully, this is the end. I don't see Sony buying Japanese studios as Japanese studios hate Sony and are jumping on the Switch train like crazy.

Pro Wrestling has never been the same since WWF bought WCW. Now they're WWE and they're terrible. On top of that UFC is better because it's a real competition.

Pro Wrestling suffered because once WWE became the sole dominant promotion, they stagnated. They bought their biggest competition and were able to keep smaller promotions at bay by scooping up their talent.

I don't think the issue is the same with MS buying Activision Blizzard.  As long as Sony is still a major player, MS is motivated to produce quality products.  The purchase is meant to boost the value of GamePass, and GamePass needs not just a volume of games but quality titles.

There's also a possible upside to the purchase. Annualized franchises no longer need to be a thing.  While an annual COD helped keep things moving in the past, there isn't as much reason to keep that output up when you're under a larger umbrella.
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Offline ThePerm

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Well this affects Sony more than Nintendo. Microsoft just did to Sony what Sony did to Nintendo in the 90s. Nintendo on the other hand has been more receptive to working with Microsoft and has had some benefit in the last few years.

I also don't see this triggering anti-trust stuff because the games industry is still really big and competitive even with this happening. It seems more like a content consolidation for like-content. Microsoft and Activision made the same sort of games.

Another thing we also have to keep in mind is where I predicted a few years ago Microsoft was going. Microsoft wants Xbox to be the netflix of games. It would smart for Sony and Microsoft to host apps on each other's platforms. It's dumb that you have to have a Playstation to play Playstation games, and an Xbox to play Xbox games. You should be able to play them on any hardware. Third party games can show up on both. Also with how PCs and Tablets are console exclusives are going to seem like a dated idea. I can use Netflix on any piece of hardware. If this becomes the standard then Nintendo can jump in on this too. I would quickly download a Nintendo app on my Playstation hardware as Bizarro futuristic as that sounds. Playing Uncharted on Switch 2 might be cool.
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Offline jarodea

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Might not be too bad if Microsoft is more concerned with software than hardware.  I could see them building a massive developer base and then exiting the hardware side.  They could then put Game Pass on Nintendo and Sony hardware, PC, phones, whatever else.  Maybe sell a Roku or Firestick type device for those who want to stream Game Pass only.  Either that or I would think Activision will continue being Activision and Microsoft will collect the profits.  They don't make money with hardware and don't have much of a first-party library, so I can't see limiting Activision to Xbox being worthwhile even if it pushes Xbox sales.  I don't know what the last game I bought made by them is so doesn't much affect me anyway.

Offline Luigi Dude

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I don't think the issue is the same with MS buying Activision Blizzard.  As long as Sony is still a major player, MS is motivated to produce quality products.  The purchase is meant to boost the value of GamePass, and GamePass needs not just a volume of games but quality titles.

I also don't see this triggering anti-trust stuff because the games industry is still really big and competitive even with this happening. It seems more like a content consolidation for like-content. Microsoft and Activision made the same sort of games.

At the moment the industry is still large enough to be competitive, but for how long?  In just the last year, Microsoft has spend close to 80 billion buying both Bethesda and Activision.  That's two major third parties with decades of history and the rights to some of the biggest IP's in gaming, swallowed by Microsoft in less then a year.

What scares me is how many studio's owners or board of directors see this news and now wonder how much Microsoft would be willing to pay to buy their companies.  Yeah Nintendo will be fine since they already laughed Microsoft out of their office last time they tried to buy them, but how many others will be more then happy to sell.

The overpaying of Activision wasn't just to make it harder for Sony to buy similar third parties, but also to send the message to third parties that they can get similar paydays as well.  Sadly I can imagine too many companies being more then willing to sell to Microsoft in the coming years when Microsoft is more then happy to write blank checks to get what they want.
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Offline ThePerm

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One thing I think is going to happen in the next three years is the big 3 speciation. I think Playstation will move more towards VR, Xbox will be the traditional style gaming platform but also turn into a PC, and Nintendo will keep doing what it is doing with Switch and becoming THE Japanese platform. If they do this they aren't really competing with each other.
The other companies in the mix are Apple, Samsung, and Google but who knows what they're going to do. As I said Meta might offer to buy Playstation off of Sony, but then what is Sony going to do? There also might be some worthwhile Chinese branded platforms in the near future.
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Offline Luigi Dude

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The other companies in the mix are Apple, Samsung, and Google but who knows what they're going to do. As I said Meta might offer to buy Playstation off of Sony, but then what is Sony going to do? There also might be some worthwhile Chinese branded platforms in the near future.

At this point we need those other major tech companies to get involved since they'd at least put a check on Microsoft.  When competing against Nintendo and Sony, Microsoft easily dwarfs them in cash to spend.  If someone like Apple and Google get involved it would at least stop Microsoft from having free range to pick off every company that's for sale.  Even though I'm not a fan of these companies either, it'd at least keep the industry more competitive instead of letting Microsoft gain control over much of it like they currently seem bent on doing.
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Offline UncleBob

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Okay, so... anyone who is sad about this... go away.

Phil Spencer did an interview and was just brainstorming **** and said...

Quote
“I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” Spencer said. “ ‘King’s Quest,’ ‘Guitar Hero,’ … I should know this but I think they got ‘HeXen.’ ”

This series, one of my all-time favorites back in the day, hasn't had acknowledgement of it's existence in almost 25 years.  And Phil's all "Hey, I think we own HeXen now, can we, like, do something with it?"

I contacted Raven Software years ago about just getting a jewel case collection (iD had just released a Doom/Doom 2/Doom 2 Master Levels/Final Doom set) and had a great conversation with what I believe to be one of the og teammates who went into some of the details on how all the rights for Heretic and HeXen were all over the place and a collection would just be unlikely.  And now this Phil guy is just like "Yup, throw it on the list too!"

Two days ago, I was like "meh, whatever" and now I'm like "How hard is it to get one of these newfangled XBoxes anyway?"
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