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Microsoft Enters Into Agreement To Acquire Activision Blizzard For US$68.7bn

by Donald Theriault - January 18, 2022, 8:51 am EST
Total comments: 51 Source: Xbox Wire

That's roughly 9.1 Bethesdas.

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.

Talkback

Luigi DudeJanuary 18, 2022

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.  :-\

Ian SaneJanuary 18, 2022

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.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 18, 2022

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. 🤣

ThePermJanuary 18, 2022

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

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 18, 2022

>Heretic and Hexen

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

ThePermJanuary 18, 2022

Quote from: UncleBob

>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.

AdrockJanuary 18, 2022

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.

broodwarsJanuary 18, 2022

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.

ThePermJanuary 18, 2022

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.

AdrockJanuary 18, 2022

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.

ThePermJanuary 18, 2022

Quote from: Adrock

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.

broodwarsJanuary 18, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

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?

ThePermJanuary 19, 2022

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.

steveyJanuary 19, 2022

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.

ThePermJanuary 19, 2022

Quote from: stevey

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.

nickmitchJanuary 19, 2022

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.

Super KYTim89January 19, 2022

Disappointed that Microsoft didn't buy Electronic Arts.

nickmitchJanuary 19, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

Quote from: stevey

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.

ThePermJanuary 20, 2022

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.

jarodeaJanuary 20, 2022

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.

Luigi DudeJanuary 20, 2022

Quote from: nickmitch

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.

Quote from: ThePerm

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.

ThePermJanuary 20, 2022

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.

Luigi DudeJanuary 20, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

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.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 20, 2022

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

Phil Spencer did an interview and was just brainstorming shit 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?"

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

probably could just play it on your PC. Don't need an xbox. I bet the next xbox will have expandable ram and hard drive capability.

They should seriously just call the next Xbox "Xbox 6" because just skip a number.

AdrockJanuary 21, 2022

More indifferent than sad.

I’m curious about the impact of acquisition. Does it necessarily help Microsoft, hurt Sony, or not move the needle much in either direction? Yesterday, Phil Spencer tweeted Microsoft’s intent to “honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Even if that wasn’t case, I wonder how many current and assumed future PlayStation owners would be driven to Xbox/PC. All their friends, all their past gaming purchases are on the PlayStation ecosystem. That’s hard to give up.

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

I don't think Microsoft is buying all these franchises to make them hardware exclusive eventually. I don't think Microsoft fundamentally believes in hardware exclusivity. They do believe in Platform exclusivity. And the plan is that Xbox platform is going to be on all hardware in the future. Like Windows. Banjo Kazooie is coming out on Switch today.

As far as changes go. 2 things. 1. A lot of the type of games they absorbed is already the type of game they make. 2. They pretty much bought all the old PC game companies.

One thing I have to say is Microsoft pissed away Rare since they bought Rare in 2002. So, that sucked. But, maybe there will be some crossover between Spyro, Crash, and Banjo Kazooie. Maybe they learned some lessons. But I guess we wont know until Fallout 5 and the next Elder Scrolls comes out.

broodwarsJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

I don't think Microsoft is buying all these franchises to make them hardware exclusive eventually. I don't think Microsoft fundamentally believes in hardware exclusivity. They do believe in Platform exclusivity. And the plan is that Xbox platform is going to be on all hardware in the future. Like Windows.

Bullshit. All the Bethesda stuff is Microsoft exclusive now, and funny how Microsoft waited to announce that till after the sale got approved by all the regulatory bodies. Phil's pulling the same trick with Activision Blizzard, saying "Oh we'll honor all existing contracts and of COURSE we'll still support PlayStation". He HAS to say that right now because if he doesn't, Microsoft could be looking at anti-trust suits. The moment this sale gets approved, watch him change his tune.

AdrockJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: broodwars

Bullshit. All the Bethesda stuff is Microsoft exclusive now, and funny how Microsoft waited to announce that till after the sale got approved by all the regulatory bodies. Phil's pulling the same trick with Activision Blizzard, saying "Oh we'll honor all existing contracts and of COURSE we'll still support PlayStation". He HAS to say that right now because if he doesn't, Microsoft could be looking at anti-trust suits. The moment this sale gets approved, watch him change his tune.

You’re not necessarily wrong as I’m sure that’s the intention. Probably more procedural than anything. I have far less faith in this country’s ability and desire to regulate anything other than women’s bodies. This is the same country that after a bunch of grade schoolers got shot, decided to cater to and baby gun owners and manufacturers. Sure, why not?

More relevantly, if the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice were actually going to do their jobs and review any antitrust anything, Amazon never would have gotten so big, Google/Alphabet never would have gotten so big, Facebook/Meta (straight up stealing an existing company’s name) never would have gotten so big etc. etc. For every one time it blocks mergers like Staples/Office Depot, it lets 47272664 through such as Office Depot/OfficeMax like three years prior. Over 20 years ago, a court ordered Microsoft to be split into two entities. Microsoft appealed and the DOJ was like 🤷‍♀️

I wonder how many people are aware of all the IRL Bond villain shit Nestlé has pulled for decades. This government’s response has been “Abortions for some; miniature American flags for others!”

Ian SaneJanuary 21, 2022

I wonder if people have gotten too used to the post-PS3/360 era where most of the games appear on both Playstation and Xbox consoles so they don't get the concept of exclusives.  Exclusives used to be the whole bread and butter of console gaming.  You secured exclusives specifically so people would buy your system instead of the other guy's in order to play those games.  With the 360, MS was kind of the de facto choice over the PS3 for Western gamers but Sony made due because they had Japan.  Last gen the Xbox One felt like a non-factor as the PS4 seemed to be the default choice and XB1 wasn't different enough to justify as a second purchase.  Having two systems that are almost identical isn't fun if you're the less popular one.  I suspect MS felt that and realized they needed to make their console an essential purchase as a first, second or third choice (though they would prefer first of course) and the best way to do that is lock-in exclusives.

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: ThePerm

I don't think Microsoft is buying all these franchises to make them hardware exclusive eventually. I don't think Microsoft fundamentally believes in hardware exclusivity. They do believe in Platform exclusivity. And the plan is that Xbox platform is going to be on all hardware in the future. Like Windows.

Bullshit. All the Bethesda stuff is Microsoft exclusive now, and funny how Microsoft waited to announce that till after the sale got approved by all the regulatory bodies. Phil's pulling the same trick with Activision Blizzard, saying "Oh we'll honor all existing contracts and of COURSE we'll still support PlayStation". He HAS to say that right now because if he doesn't, Microsoft could be looking at anti-trust suits. The moment this sale gets approved, watch him change his tune.

You're not thinking four dimensionaly.  And you're thinking conventionally.

One day people are going to turn on their Playstation and load up the Xbox app and then play Quake 5. Or it might even be some Chinese console from a Chinese company that as of today either doesn't exist or we've never heard of that's 100 cheaper and just as powerful as the competition. Or maybe it'll just be an app you can access from your smart TV. Sony will resist this idea until they can't, and then they'll realize that this is the future. And they may already be of this mindset.

The hardware wars are over. Nintendo won. By not being in them. Iwata predicted that it could only go so far. Hardware is only a means to sell software. Hardware is often sold at a loss by both Microsoft and Sony. By making your platform hardware agnostic then you can get your platform to more people.

Let me ask. Do you use a Netflix box? A Hulu Box? A Disney+ box? A Youtube box? No, all of those apps are available on every hardware. Each one of these is a portable platform. You pay a monthly fee. They get 200 million subscribers then that means they get 2 billion dollars a month or at least 24 billion dollars a year. Alternatively, without a monthly fee you can still buy content to use whenever you want.

https://i.imgur.com/nNK32Pu.png

Also, Think about how the chip supply shortage seriously limited Sony's ability to get hardware out. If you didn't need the hardware then you are in a better position.

AdrockJanuary 21, 2022

We used to talk about a One Console Future® except the reality is that with the way technology has advanced, it’s more like a One Service Future® now. With Game Pass, Microsoft is so far ahead of everyone else because it looked at Netflix and leaned into the (perceived?) importance of being first in a space. Netflix has the least amount of exclusive content aside from Apple except it beat everyone in the streaming space by several years and is now so pervasive that the major film and TV distribution companies keep licensing their content to Netflix, essentially aiding the competition. If you can’t beat them, you might as well make money off them.

That’s what Microsoft is trying to do while also attempting to get ahead of the we-don’t-have-enough-exclusive-content problem. It still doesn’t, and buying Activision Blizzard doesn’t really get Microsoft all that closer. It’s risky to apply the same thinking to games because they’re really not all that similar to movies and TV. If there was an app that had everyone on it including Sony and Nintendo, that’d be something except that’s never going to happen. Microsoft still thinks this is the right path forward. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it plays out for ‘em.

Sony bought Gaikai in 2012 and subsequently launched PlayStation Now. It had every opportunity to do what Microsoft is doing now then stopped. Sony clearly doesn’t see the same path forward.

Nintendo is dabbling in this with Nintendo Switch Online. It may never hop on the Game Pass-like service train because maybe it doesn’t need to. It’s the only console manufacturer with a user experience that isn’t easily be replicated (though Valve sure is trying, kind of). Nintendo seems content existing in its bubble of profitability. It can and has supported its own hardware largely on its own and is approaching 40 years of exclusive software. That’s the kind of longevity and sustainability money can’t buy. Everyone knows you can’t get Nintendo games anywhere else.

This is the problem Microsoft is going to keep running into no matter how many third party publishers it buys. For people already in Microsoft’s ecosystem, it has given them more reason to stay which is good. PlayStation owners probably aren’t going to jump into Microsoft’s ecosystem because it now owns Call of Duty. They’ll just stop buying Call of Duty when it becomes inconvenient to do so. Rinse/repeat for all the other IPs Microsoft now owns. Additionally, Microsoft is emboldening EA and Take Two to fill that Call of Duty shaped hole. Rinse/repeat for all the other IPs Microsoft now owns.

broodwarsJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: ThePerm

I don't think Microsoft is buying all these franchises to make them hardware exclusive eventually. I don't think Microsoft fundamentally believes in hardware exclusivity. They do believe in Platform exclusivity. And the plan is that Xbox platform is going to be on all hardware in the future. Like Windows.

Bullshit. All the Bethesda stuff is Microsoft exclusive now, and funny how Microsoft waited to announce that till after the sale got approved by all the regulatory bodies. Phil's pulling the same trick with Activision Blizzard, saying "Oh we'll honor all existing contracts and of COURSE we'll still support PlayStation". He HAS to say that right now because if he doesn't, Microsoft could be looking at anti-trust suits. The moment this sale gets approved, watch him change his tune.

You're not thinking four dimensionaly.  And you're thinking conventionally.

Oh really, Doc Brown? So where's Starfield on PlayStation?

https://www.polygon.com/e3/22532074/starfield-release-date-bethesda-softworks-xbox-pc-e3-2021

How about Redfall? Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2? Avowed? Perfect Dark? Oh hey, how about Psychonauts 2 on PS5? After all, Series X has a comparable version. How about a version of Doom Eternal on PS5 that supports the PS4 version's saves, rather than forcing players to lose all their progress?

Oh darn. It seems Microsoft bought Bethesda and all these other companies to keep their games off other platforms after all (the 2 timed exclusives Sony arranged pre-buyout & the contractually-obligated Kickstarter game, notwithstanding).

We may get to a point where Microsoft starts shipping their games around to other platforms AS a software platform of its own, but we are very; very; very; very; VERY far away from that day, and their history so far shows that any pretense they give to it being any closer is smoke and mirrors.

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

I think Nintendo could offer different services on different platforms. Nintendo might have exclusives on future Switch successors, but maybe offer certain evergreen games and retro games on other hardware platforms. Wii remakes might do well on VR platforms. Though Nintendo could just stay the course and as long as people keep buying their stuff then they have no problem.
Though I think Nintendo is a lot more forward thinking then people give them credit for.

?imw=637&imh=358&ima=fit&impolicy=Letter

Microsoft can always offer classic games on their service too. There are no shortage of classic games they just bought. Activision has been around since the Atari days. Their whole existence was started as an insurgency of unlicensed 3rd party games on the Atari Platform. They also probably triggered the 80s gaming crash.

There is no doubt all the companies will have less diversity of content moving forward. Some studios are going to become specific game franchise houses. Though they might revive some dead franchises. Blizzard hasn't made a new RTS Warcraft game since 2002. Warcraft became an MMO series. Microsoft however has continued to make Age of Empire games. Simple solution: have the age of Empire team make a new Warcraft RTS game. Flip that around and maybe there will be an official Starcraft MMO game.

Sony looks bad at the moment, but that is only because of the comparison. I have a ps4 for a reason over an Xbox One. The exclusive content on ps4 was just something I preferred. Though 360 was more appealing the previous generation. Sony has a good stable of internal studios, and good third party support. Activision Blizzard was just one large studio. There are still plenty of multi-billion dollar studios like EA, Take Two, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Capcom, Sega, Bandai Namco, Roblox, CD Project, and Konami.

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: broodwars

We may get to a point where Microsoft starts shipping their games around to other platforms AS a software platform of its own, but we are very; very; very; very; VERY far away from that day, and their history so far shows that any pretense they give to it being any closer is smoke and mirrors.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/xbox-game-pass/id1374542474

broodwarsJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

Quote from: broodwars

We may get to a point where Microsoft starts shipping their games around to other platforms AS a software platform of its own, but we are very; very; very; very; VERY far away from that day, and their history so far shows that any pretense they give to it being any closer is smoke and mirrors.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/xbox-game-pass/id1374542474

Did you even read that App's description? It's an App that connects to your Xbox. Sony has one of those, too, for PlayStation. Even Nintendo has an App like this, kinda, and they barely believe the internet exists.

"Download the Xbox Game Pass app to search, browse, and download new games to your console when you’re on your mobile device.

How does Xbox Game Pass work?

- Join and play over 100 great games including new award-winning Xbox exclusives the same day they’re released

- Use the Xbox Game Pass app to browse and download games to your Xbox One so they are ready to play when you are. Set your console to “Instant-On” to allow game downloads when you’re away. Find this in the Power & Startup menu in Settings

- Receive notifications about new games coming to Xbox Game Pass, and start playing the moment your game is available when you pre-download it to your Xbox One.

- Save up to 20% on Xbox One game purchases from the existing Xbox Game Pass catalog, plus 10% off any Xbox One game add-ons

For help, please visit support.xbox.com"

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

no

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1yGIiJiGuY

broodwarsJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

no

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1yGIiJiGuY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1yGIiJiGuY

Congratulations: Microsoft discovered cloud gaming (no word yet on whether it still has "infinite power"), which Google's failed to sell for years and Sony for even longer. Next you'll tell me that VR is gonna be big. Which reminds me, how did Hololens work out for Microsoft? Oh right...

And yes, I am mocking both Sony and Valve for their obsession with that boondoggle when both could be putting their money towards games people actually buy.

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

I remember a time in 1999 when I spent 1 and a half hours downloading a maybe 4 minute Pokémon stadium video off IGN. There was a time when streaming video wasn't a thing because it just didn't work. Then that stuff got better.

broodwarsJanuary 21, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

I remember a time in 1999 when I spent 1 and a half hours downloading a maybe 4 minute Pokémon stadium video off IGN. There was a time when streaming video wasn't a thing because it just didn't work. Then that stuff got better.

Sure, but you're banking an awful lot on GamePass being not only sustainable but so monumentally successful that it supplants dedicated hardware in an awfully optimistic future. Right now, Microsoft is basically running the thing as a loss leader to get their foot in the door, and who knows how long they can keep that up. I really wonder how popular GamePass will be once Microsoft starts actually charging what the service costs to run and developers start hiking up the cost of their bribes accordingly.

You only have to look at the 3 ring circus that is the dedicated TV/movie streaming services arms race right now to see how bad that service can get: constant rate hikes as providers struggle to shovel more and more content most people will never care about onto services increasingly impossible to sift through.

I know, I also just described Steam and the Nintendo eShop.  ;)

ThePermJanuary 21, 2022

No, Im banking on companies to give up on caring about a lot of old anti-competitive bullshit that will become irrelevant when they can't keep up on the hardware. They could make more money if they stopped giving a crap about hardware.

The user base of the Xbox One was somewhere around 51 million users. The user base of the PS4 was around 116 million. The combined user base is more than both of those(some people are the same people)
The more people that have access to your platform the better. If your platform is software then you can give it away free without taking that loss.

Microsoft and Sony don't really make their own hardware. They're just AMD boxes with their logo plastered on them. It's nothing more than branding. It's like when Donald Trump puts his name on some hotel he doesn't really own.

https://www.windowscentral.com/sonys-microsoft-azure-powered-cloud-service-will-be-playstation-exclusive

And i don't think this is going to all be cloud gaming. Some of it is going to be local storage. Steam paved the way for all of this. If Sony has games on Microsoft and Microsoft has games on Sony then they're even. It's a fair trade-off putting them in a stalemate.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/3/22816087/sony-playstation-5-game-subscription-service-xbox-games-pass-now-spartacus

It's also probably going to be internationally illegal to block app stores from your app store very soon.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/30/eu-says-apples-app-store-breaches-competition-rules.html

https://www.justice.gov/archive/atr/public/press_releases/1998/1764.htm


Bungle4January 22, 2022

Interesting discussion. Who knows what the long term will bring, but it seems clear Microsoft will buy up more third parties in the next few years. My prediction for the next acquisition is WB Games. If I were Phil Spencer I would be thinking of getting the next GTA as an XBox exclusive.

broodwarsJanuary 22, 2022

Quote from: AJBungle

Interesting discussion. Who knows what the long term will bring, but it seems clear Microsoft will buy up more third parties in the next few years. My prediction for the next acquisition is WB Games. If I were Phil Spencer I would be thinking of getting the next GTA as an XBox exclusive.

I don't think Take 2 ever sells. They know what they have in Rockstar.  WB Games is a possibility. Lord knows that AT&T has been trying to shed themselves of the entire Warner division of late.

I think we're going to see a bunch of smaller acquisitions by the other big hunters, like Tencent and the quiet Zerg Swarm that is the Embracer Group. Seriously, just LOOK at this list of developers Embracer owns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embracer_Group#Subsidiaries

I think we're going to see some smaller acquisitions like Sumo Digital; Quantic Dream; etc. I could see someone try to buy Konami, but the Yakuza would never sell.

I've been saying for years that I could see Sony scooping up Square Enix. It's such an obvious partnership, and they've been moving towards it for years. Sony doesn't have the money to outright buy them, so I could see there being some sort of merger (much like the one that created Square Enix to begin with). I could also see Capcom hooking up with someone. I don't see Sega or Namco Bandai (or is it Bandai Namco these days?) going anywhere. They have their roots in too deep with other things.

AdrockJanuary 22, 2022

Quote from: broodwars

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?

Quote from: broodwars

I've been saying for years that I could see Sony scooping up Square Enix. It's such an obvious partnership, and they've been moving towards it for years. Sony doesn't have the money to outright buy them, so I could see there being some sort of merger (much like the one that created Square Enix to begin with). I could also see Capcom hooking up with someone. I don't see Sega or Namco Bandai (or is it Bandai Namco these days?) going anywhere. They have their roots in too deep with other things.

What changed in the last four days?

Quote from: AJBungle

Interesting discussion. Who knows what the long term will bring, but it seems clear Microsoft will buy up more third parties in the next few years. My prediction for the next acquisition is WB Games. If I were Phil Spencer I would be thinking of getting the next GTA as an XBox exclusive.

Depends on who’s better at predicting the future. Microsoft thinks it’s services and the cloud. Sony thinks it’s still in dedicated hardware.

WB Games may be available. However, what does WB Games have that Microsoft wants? NetherRealm Studios and Rocksteady Studios probably have the most value, but I don’t know if either are on Microsoft’s radar. The main issue with buying WB Games is that it doesn’t come with the Warner Bros. IP that Microsoft would want except maybe Mortal Kombat.

Ubisoft would be the kind of splashy move that’s more in Microsoft’s wheelhouse. It successfully fought off a hostile takeover by Vivendi several years ago. Now though? Ubisoft, like Activision Blizzard, was hit with controversy last year so maybe it’ll let Microsoft deal with that too. This still wouldn’t get Microsoft much closer to being the Netflix of video games.

ThePermJanuary 22, 2022

Ideally someone buys Konami. We can all agree. They used to be one of my favorite third parties, but whoever inherited/retirement funded Konami needs to replaced. I'd like Sony to buy Konami and put Kojima on the board. I would say have him become the CEO, but he already has his own company. Konami is worth about 6 billion. Which, compared to other game companies is small. There are a few over-valued tech companies in the space now.

As much as I like Metal Gear, I'd rather see an epic Goemon game. A rebooted version of Silent Hills would be nice.

broodwarsJanuary 22, 2022

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: broodwars

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?

Quote from: broodwars

I've been saying for years that I could see Sony scooping up Square Enix. It's such an obvious partnership, and they've been moving towards it for years. Sony doesn't have the money to outright buy them, so I could see there being some sort of merger (much like the one that created Square Enix to begin with). I could also see Capcom hooking up with someone. I don't see Sega or Namco Bandai (or is it Bandai Namco these days?) going anywhere. They have their roots in too deep with other things.

What changed in the last four days?

Nothing. I could see it happening, but it's a long shot due to Square Enix's success and Sony's lack of money, and would still require a merger. If we saw anything happen with the Japanese companies, it would be that. It's unlikely, but I could see it happening due to all the exclusivity deals Sony's been making with Square Enix of late. It might very well have been in the plans for some time, but we were still nowhere near it getting to that point.

ThePermJanuary 22, 2022

Square Enix seems to be good at playing both sides nowadays. They used to be at least someone second party at some point but they're better at being more fluid then they used to be.

Other than Mortal Kombat and Gauntlet I don't know what franchises WB/NetherRealms has. I don't know which old Midway franchises they still possess. WB makes a lot of decent movie tie-in games. Mad Max was one of my favorite games last generation.  Though, that was developed by Avalanche. The WB thing is interesting because Discovery just bought WB off of ATT&T or something. While, i don't think they particularly care that they have a games division I think they like owning the associated IP like Mortal Kombat. Acclaim and Midway used to be the big 2 third party developers in the US. Midway evolved into WB games and Acclaim evolved into Retro.

AdrockJanuary 22, 2022

Quote from: broodwars

I could see it happening due to all the exclusivity deals Sony's been making with Square Enix of late. It might very well have been in the plans for some time, but we were still nowhere near it getting to that point.

I wouldn’t take that as anything more than Square Enix likes money, and if Sony is willing to pony up a lot of it to make console exclusivity worth its while, it will gladly take that money.

Bungle4January 23, 2022

Quote from: Adrock

WB Games may be available. However, what does WB Games have that Microsoft wants? NetherRealm Studios and Rocksteady Studios probably have the most value, but I don’t know if either are on Microsoft’s radar. The main issue with buying WB Games is that it doesn’t come with the Warner Bros. IP that Microsoft would want except maybe Mortal Kombat.

If I were poaching IPs, then GTA would be high on my list. Imagine GTA 6 being an XBox exclusive. I think that would be significant.

Luigi DudeJanuary 23, 2022

Quote from: ThePerm

Ideally someone buys Konami. We can all agree. They used to be one of my favorite third parties, but whoever inherited/retirement funded Konami needs to replaced. I'd like Sony to buy Konami and put Kojima on the board. I would say have him become the CEO, but he already has his own company. Konami is worth about 6 billion. Which, compared to other game companies is small. There are a few over-valued tech companies in the space now.

As much as I like Metal Gear, I'd rather see an epic Goemon game. A rebooted version of Silent Hills would be nice.

Konami is the least likely to be bought since most of their money comes from non-videogame related industries in Japan.  Unless Sony really wants to own a bunch of health centers, spending over 6 billion to buy them is no where near what they gaming IP's are worth.  Especially when Konami already gutted most of their own game studio's and drove away all the top talent, it's not worth much as a gaming company since they cant develop much either.

broodwarsJanuary 23, 2022

Quote from: Luigi

Quote from: ThePerm

Ideally someone buys Konami. We can all agree. They used to be one of my favorite third parties, but whoever inherited/retirement funded Konami needs to replaced. I'd like Sony to buy Konami and put Kojima on the board. I would say have him become the CEO, but he already has his own company. Konami is worth about 6 billion. Which, compared to other game companies is small. There are a few over-valued tech companies in the space now.

As much as I like Metal Gear, I'd rather see an epic Goemon game. A rebooted version of Silent Hills would be nice.

Konami is the least likely to be bought since most of their money comes from non-videogame related industries in Japan.  Unless Sony really wants to own a bunch of health centers, spending over 6 billion to buy them is no where near what they gaming IP's are worth.  Especially when Konami already gutted most of their own game studio's and drove away all the top talent, it's not worth much as a gaming company since they cant develop much either.

Indeed, hence my joke earlier about the Yakuza never selling Konami.

Been seeing wild speculation lately about one of the big tech companies buying Sony's PlayStation division, and I'd like to know what they're smoking. The PlayStation division is not only Sony's most profitable division but IIRC it's their *only* profitable division. Why in the world would they sell it?

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