Daily Column – 19th January 2022

The pandemic made everyone want to play games a lot more. Microsoft did the same thing. The tech company said yesterday that it was going to buy video game company Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, which is a lot of money.

Usually, when you see a Six Flags ride for the first time, you gasp. Activision Blizzard would be Microsoft’s biggest acquisition by far. In fact, by deal size, it’s about the same as the sum of Microsoft’s five biggest acquisitions together (LinkedIn being the biggest of those, with a $26 billion price tag).

If Take-Two buys Activision Blizzard, it would be the biggest deal in the history of gaming. Take-Two bought Zynga for $12.7 billion last week.

Microsoft will use Activision’s huge library of games, like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and Candy Crush, to try to make its Xbox Game Pass subscription service the “Netflix for games.”

But its goals are bigger than that.

Deal: The company that makes office software is taking a direct shot at the CEO of Meta, a company that makes virtual worlds called the “metaverse.”

There are a lot of games that Microsoft thinks will help open up the metaverse, so that’s what will do it.

Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Gaming, says that the fastest way to get into the metaverse is through the infrastructure that game platforms like Minecraft have already built.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has spent more than $10 billion buying more than a dozen game studios. Before going after Activision, Microsoft bought more than a dozen smaller game studios.

If you want to take over, you don’t get rid of your things or your problems. In July, the state of California sued Activision for sexual harassment, pay inequality, and a “frat boy culture.” Activision is a video game company. Angry CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to step down after the deal is done. He is said to have been aware of some of the problems.

Because of this, Microsoft could find itself on the wrong side of the law. Some big tech companies like Alphabet, Meta, Apple, and Amazon have been looked at by regulators before. Microsoft might not be so lucky.

Check out this silly TikTok video about the deal.

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