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Xbox has announced that it has officially completed its $68.7 billion USD acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, and has welcomed the Call of Duty maker into the fold.
The deal was finalised today, following the earlier final approval from the UK’s CMA being the final roadblock. The monumental deal means a bunch of Activision properties are now under the banner of Xbox – including Call of Duty, Overwatch, Candy Crush, Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft. While the deal had first been announced all the way back in January of 2022, the companies had faced several roadblocks trying to push the deal through, including a blockage from the UK’s Competition and Markets authority, which was finally resolved earlier today after Xbox agreed to sell the Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer published a lengthy statement on the move to his social media channels and the Xbox Wire blog. “I’ve long admired the work of Activision, Blizzard and King and the impact they’ve had on gaming, entertainment and pop culture. Whether it was late nights spent playing the Diablo 4 campaign with friends from start to finish, gathering the entire family in the rec room for our weekly Guitar Hero night, or going on an epic streak in Candy Crush, some of my most memorable gaming moments came from experiences their studios have created. It is incredible to welcome such legendary teams to Xbox.”
As part of the agreement, Spencer says “we will also continue to make more games available in more places” by enabling cloud streaming providers and players to stream Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area. He also says “Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms.” He also added “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. Because when everyone plays, we all win.”
As for controversial Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, while initially the deal stated that he and the other Activision board members will be stepping down as previously agreed as part of the merger, in a public email to employees the information was revealed that Mr Kotick has been asked by Phil Spencer to stay on as CEO – reporting to Spencer – but only until the end of 2023.
It’s definitely been a whirlwind almost-two year journey, but now the deal is sealed, it’s certainly going to be an interesting time as we see the effects of the merger on the games, the game-playing public and indeed, the entire games industry as a whole.