Hello and welcome back to the channel. Now, this week, I think we’ve really only got one thing to talk about, and it came as a bit of a shock! And that’s the fact that Microsoft announced they were buying out Activision Blizzard. If you haven’t heard this already, then where the hell have you been? Do you live under a rock or something? Well, that’s okay too, as we’ve got some things to talk about.
Let’s start at the beginning. On the 18th of January, Microsoft put out a news article stating they are to acquire Activision Blizzard, to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device. Their words, not ours and how they’ve phrased that is interesting, but we’ll get onto that. Microsoft will pay 95bucks for each Activision Blizzard share, which doesn’t seem like much but altogether, thats pretty much a 70 billion dollar purchase. Billion, not million, 70 billion dollars. This is the biggest takeover purchase in the gaming industry ever, period.
To give you a flavour of what Microsoft will be purchasing, it’s the Call of Duty franchise, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Starcraft and even the candy crush saga as King Games is a part of Activision Blizzard as it currently stands.
There are so many questions that need to be asked. What does this mean to the industry, what are consumers going ot get out of this deal, so let’s go through it..
So what does this mean for the industry? Microsoft is planning on adding Activision Blizzard’s database of games to Games Pass, their monthly pay to play Xbox/PC service. Now that’s huge and thats great if you’re a fan of Games Pass, and I know gamers will welcome the option to access these games under their existing monthly subscription. But what’s in place to stop Microsoft from making these titles exclusives? I can’t imagine for a second that Call Of Duty will cease being a game for Playstation and I think they’d be foolish in doing this as the player base will fall as will their purchase revenue surely. It’s been reported however that if Microsoft do make Call of Duty games moving forward exclusive to their platform, then Sony could be losing a couple of hundred million dollars a year. They’ve already done it with the Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield that are coming from Bethesda, so it could happen!
So what about the competition, as there is now a bit less of it. I feel like some kind of monopoly battle is underway and it’s only a matter of time until other studios are purchased by the big companies. Once the Activision Blizzard deal goes through, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, and will they stop there? I doubt it. Their future is Games Pass. Microsoft is actively trying to tie you into a service, and they will most certainly win your custom if they’re offering the best exclusives. Remember earlier, Microsoft’s exact words were “to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” How this will play out, I do not know. Does every device mean they’ll start developing games for Sony and Nintendo consoles in the future? Maybe.
So let’s think about the other big developers out there. EA for example, has Origin on PC, and produces some of the world’s leading sports games, and even has a service called EA play which is tied in heavily with Games Pass at the moment, so there’s definitely some big back door deals going there. They’re competing with Microsoft on market share, but they’ve tied themselves to Games Pass. IS it a matter of time before EA becomes swallowed up completely by Microsoft? What about Sony? How are they going to react? Are they going to be trying to strike up deals with Microsoft to get games onto the Playstation? Or are they going to be gunning for another studio like Take-Two to get exclusivity over the GTA games? What about Nintendo? Ubisoft is still lone wolves that are involved with the Rabbids titles on Nintendo consoles, and create the Just Dance type titles. Will Nintendo go for the grab there? Dare I even mention Amazon or Google, You know they’re already thinking about how to play their cards moving forward. Google may want to entice people back to Stadia, and what better way than to try and get some exclusive titles? Amazon didn’t exactly smash it out the park with New World, so what about getting some exclusives from decent studios?
Another question though is, is this morally right? Activision Blizzard has been in the press a lot over the last 18 months, with the sexual harassment claims, with the lawsuit claiming ‘the gaming giant of discriminating against its female workforce and fomenting a frat boy workplace culture. Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard won’t clear this up and I can’t imagine they will easily be able to fire or make redundant certain members of staff associated with these claims. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something in the buyout contract stating that all current employees jobs remain for a certain amount of time. Not to mention, the CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick may get a paycheque of nearly 300 million dollars from this and how is that a good thing. He’s been the CEO since 1991, the company has had its ups and downs but the responsibility and liability of this lawsuit has to go to the top, to Bobby and regardless of the outcome, he’s going to get such a big paycheque he won’t care, he’ll just wipe his hands clean. There needs to be accountability. Though it’s been reported that Microsoft will inevitably remove Bobby Kotick from his position, I’m wondering Microsoft is just going to gut Activision Blizzard from the inside and almost start again.
We’ve got a long way to go, the purchase is likely to take some time, over a year to finalise and to sign on the dotted line. Rumours will be put to bed, facts and plans will start to come to light and we’ll get a better picture of what this means for us gamers.
Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed this video hit the thumbs up button and subscribe to keep up with our weekly news content and tech review videos and let us know in the comments what your take on this whole deal is. Are you worried about the future of your favourite studios? Or are you welcoming this buyout with open arms, and are excited for the future of Games Pass. Let us know. As I said, thanks for watching, and we’ll see you in the next video.