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Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for near $70 billion

UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed via IGN that the CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, will remain in his position after the deal is complete.

“Bobby will lead Activision Blizzard as CEO, as he has for the last 30 years,” a Microsoft spokesperson told IGN. “Together, Bobby and Phil will work together to ensure the transition to this exciting new combined enterprise. The Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil after the close.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BELOW:

Microsoft, the giant software publisher, and studio that only just acquired Bethesda last year, has now acquired Activision Blizzard for a deal with a value of $68.7 billion (via The Verge).

The news was formally announced by Microsoft on their official Twitter account, and via a blog post that provides additional detail on the acquisition of the troubled publisher.

Considering that it cost Microsoft just $7.5 billion to purchase Bethesda, a well-known studio with a portfolio of incredible game series like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for near $70 billion only further conveys just how far Microsoft is willing to go to add more studios and publishers to its arsenal.

What this means for Activision Blizzard is that soon Microsoft will be the publisher behind games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush.

Outside of these games, Microsoft will acquire studios across Activision. This includes “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”.

Once this transition is final, Microsoft will offer players “as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass”. This will include both new and old titles, though it is speculation whether that means future Activision Blizzard games will end up as a Microsoft exclusive.

However, the elephant in the room was aptly ignored in Microsoft’s blog post: will this future with Microsoft Xbox entail the resignation of Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick – a man who has allegedly been involved in the troublesome, toxic culture that was revealed to run rampant through the studio?

Kotick has said that he would consider stepping down before if he couldn’t fix the harassment problem at the studio. Yet, as alleged by previous employees, Kotick was also part of the problem due to “unwanted touching, demeaning comments, exclusion from important meetings, and unsolicited comments on their appearance.”

As for now, Kotick’s fate is uncertain. Microsoft’s CEO Phil Spencer has previously said that they were “re-evaluating their relationship” with the studio after the allegations against them had been revealed. Spencer is quoted to have said that he and the other leaders of Xbox were “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” alleged to have taken place at Activision Blizzard.

But now? According to the Microsoft blog post, “Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently” until the deal between the two is complete. Afterward, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer as CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

What this means for Bobby Kotick after the transitional period is over is currently unknown.

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