Activision Blizzard, the publisher of some of the most iconic franchises in gaming history, has agreed to be completely acquired by Microsoft.
The landmark deal has been estimated to be around $70 billion, making Activision Blizzard a first-party Xbox Game Studio from hereon. That means the entire Activision Blizzard brand, all of its subsidiary studios and their respective franchises, are coming under Microsoft Gaming.
“We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, in an announcement.
Spencer also noted that once the acquisition nears completion, Microsoft will be bringing “as many Activision Blizzard games” as possible on Xbox Game Pass, including day-one releases. The behemoth acquisition will furthermore help boost the subscriber-count of Xbox Game Pass, which Spencer revealed to be more than 25 million as of today.
Warcraft and World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Hearthstone, StarCraft, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Tony Hawk, Candy Crush, Call of Duty, and a lot more may as well land on Xbox Game Pass in the future.
Microsoft however has not clarified its exclusivity plans for Activision Blizzard games. While it would be difficult to imagine Call of Duty being exclusive to Xbox consoles, Microsoft now has the rights to do so. That would also be unsurprising when considering the same happened with Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 after Bethesda Softworks came under Xbox Game Studios following the acquisition of its parent company ZeniMax Media.
Last week, Spencer stated that Xbox will be conducting business with Activision Blizzard differently in light of the troubling allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and toxicity marring the Call of Duty publisher. He mentioned certain changes coming into effect but which were not clarified. Nobody would have guessed that those changes meant acquiring the whole publisher in a swoop.