Activision-Blizzard, King Join Team Xbox

Microsoft has announced that one of gaming’s pioneer publishers will be joining their ranks in the form of Activision Blizzard. In the earliest days of the mainstream industry, Activision was hand-in-hand with Atari as a dominating force of the American industry. After a variety of controversies, however, the company has found itself in an interesting position — and one that Microsoft is seemingly aware of. In the release, it’s stated that Activision Blizzard will operate as its own company until the deal closes — and then they will report to Phil Spencer directly.

This is among the biggest third-party acquisitions in Microsoft’s history and will usher in a new era for Activision Blizzard in a way that’s likely going to be good for the company in the long run. They’ll have as many resources as they need to create top-notch games, and with the company having Call of Duty to work with, the purchase price will be paid off over time easily with just that franchise alone. Spencer states that the goal is to have the back catalog on Game Pass for both consoles and PC, and cloud streaming is something that will enable the CoD series in particular to be playable on devices in ways it wasn’t before — like in-browser on Chromebooks.

To their credit, Microsoft addresses Activision’s issues with the workplace upfront and Spencer stated that they will ensure that everyone under their roof is to be treated with respect and dignity — and this move is the one that makes this feel like a net positive for the industry as a whole. One can make a case for Microsoft buying up companies, but in the case of Activision Blizzard, they were walking a tightrope that was too thin to be sustained and mass boycotts could have gained traction and completely killed the company. With this move, the company stays intact as a part of Microsoft and we could see things like a revival of a series that helped define racing on Xbox before and alongside Forza: Project Gotham Racing.

This is a new era for Activision Blizzard and one that should re-ignite passion for their franchises both from within and externally. As fans, this is the best chance yet that we have seen for things like PGR to make a comeback and thrill a whole new generation of gamers. It will also provide Microsoft with their greatest chance yet to make Game Pass and cloud gaming mainstream with Call of Duty entering the fray and making people more open to trying cloud gaming that wouldn’t have otherwise. We’ll see more of what’s in store for the industry when the deal finally close, but it’s a remarkable time for the industry as a whole and the future is both unlike anything we’ve seen yet, and also full of familiar faces at the same time.

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