Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, the publisher and associated developer of many titles including the Call of Duty franchise.
Announced today on an Xbox Wire post, Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard, which includes the development teams at 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, and Treyarch. Microsoft's purchase is set to cost $68.7 billion.
Microsoft has stated that Activision Blizzard will operate independently until the deal is complete, but Phil Spencer does note that once the deal is complete the business will report to him. In an email sent to Activision Blizzard staff (via CharlieIntel), current CEO Bobby Kotick - who is set to remain at the head of the company until the deal is finalised - said that "transactions like these can take a long time to complete," and the process is expected to end in Microsoft's 2023 financial year, which ends on June 30, 2023.
"Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog," adds Spencer.
Although the announcement doesn't outright mention the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit, which involves allegations of sexual abuse and harassment, Spencer does add the following paragraph to the blog post:
"As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard."
It's not clear when the deal will complete, but it's another high-profile acquisition for Microsoft, which also completed the purchase of Zenimax, the owners of Bethesda early last year.