Microsoft Completes Biggest Deal In Gaming History With $69bn Takeover Of Call of Duty Maker Activision Blizzard


Microsoft has completed its $69bn (£56bn) takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard in the gaming industry’s biggest ever deal. It comes as Microsoft, which owns the Xbox gaming console, was given the green light for the global deal after UK regulators approved it. The Competition and Markets Authority said its concerns had been addressed, after it blocked the original bid. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said securing Activision was “incredible”.

Despite concerns from rivals such as PlayStation-maker Sony, and regulators over competition in the gaming industry, Mr Spencer, who is chief executive of Microsoft Gaming, sought to reassure gamers. “Whether you play on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC or mobile, you are welcome here – and will remain welcome, even if Xbox isn’t where you play your favorite franchise,” Mr Spencer said in a statement following the takeover. “Because when everyone plays, we all win. We believe our news today will unlock a world of possibilities for more ways to play.”

Under the re-worked deal, Microsoft has handed the rights to distribute Activision’s games on consoles and PCs over the cloud to French video game publisher Ubisoft. But while a concession has been made, Microsoft will now control games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush that will provide the firm with huge revenues. The CMA said the revised deal would “preserve competitive prices” in the gaming industry and provide more choice and better services.

Microsoft is hopeful the takeover will boost demand for its Xbox console and enable the tech firm to add more titles to its Xbox Game Pass service, where members pay a subscription fee to access a catalogue of games from the cloud – either by downloading or by streaming.

The deal with Activision also means Microsoft will own its studio solely purposed for mobile games, with hopes of expanding on the successes of titles such as Candy Crush. The takeover further cements Microsoft as a video game giant and could catapult it ahead of Nintendo to become the third-biggest player in the industry behind Sony, the owner of the PlayStation console, and market leader Tencent.

Sony strongly opposed this deal over concerns that big Activision titles like Call of Duty could become Xbox exclusives over time. PlayStation currently outsells Microsoft’s Xbox but like all entertainment platforms, the key to success is access to the best content; though Sony is also not averse to buying up successful studios.






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