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Activision Blizzard, a developer of video games, will be acquired by Microsoft for about $69 billion, making it the biggest transaction in tech history. The fact that the Redmond giant is presently on a buying binge and has acquired one of the major game developers for gaming consoles, mobile devices, and PCs exposes Microsoft’s ambition to use the Xbox brand name to become the dominating player in the computer game business. The purchase further exacerbates issues with Big Tech’s market dominance, which are already on regulatory authorities’ radar. Many people also believe that Microsoft is attempting to undermine the fabric of the video game industry, which depends on freedom of expression and innovative thought, by acquiring a publisher of this stature. We explain why, despite the substantial long-term benefits the Satya Nadella-led company will undoubtedly get, Microsoft’s high-stakes attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard is creating issues.
In the largest video game market deal in history, Microsoft Corp. is purchasing Activision Snowstorm for $68.7 billion as global innovation titans stake their claims to a virtual future.
Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date, revealed on Tuesday, is an all-cash deal that would give it more ammunition to compete against leaders Tencent and Sony in the booming videogame business.
It also represents the American International’s wager on the “metaverse,” or virtual online worlds where people may interact, work, and play, as some of its biggest competitors already do.
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “gaming is one of the most engaging and dynamic categories of entertainment across all platforms today and will play a crucial role in the creation of metaverse systems.”
The $95 per share price that Microsoft is offering represents a 45% premium over Activision’s Friday close. Its shares were up 27% at $83.35 in early trade, still representing a significant discount to the offer price and highlighting potential issues the merger may face if it ends itself in the sights of regulatory authorities.
With this acquisition, Microsoft would become the third-largest gaming corporation in the world, putting them on lawmakers’ radars, according to Andre Barlow of the legal firm Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC. Up until this point, Microsoft has dodged the kind of inspection dealt with by Google and Facebook.
Microsoft is currently quite popular in the video game industry, he said.
The shares of the important technology company were down 0.7% in early trading.
The deal is made at a time when Activision, the developer of games like “Overwatch” and “Sweet Crush,” is struggling. Prior to the announcement of the purchase, the company’s shares had fallen more than 37% from their record high in 2015 as a result of reports of inappropriate sexual advances made to employees as well as misbehavior on the part of some top executives. The company said on Monday that since July, it had fired or forced out more than three batches of employees and disciplined another 40. The company is still investigating these allegations.
After the transaction, Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick, who claimed Microsoft had contacted him about a potential acquisition, would continue in that role.
In a conference call with experts, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella avoided addressing the story specifically but spoke about the importance of company culture.
He added that “the success of this acquisition will depend on Activision Blizzard to press ahead on its regained cultural obligations.”
The “METAVERSE ARMS RACE”
According to research firm Mordor Research, the global industry for video games was estimated to be worth $173.70 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $314.40 billion by 2027.
As one of the main three console manufacturers, Microsoft can already claim a significant beachhead in the market. It has been making investments, such as the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Zenimax and Mojang Studios, the makers of “Minecraft.”
Also, it created a well-liked cloud gaming service with more than 25 million users.
Executives highlighted Activision’s 400 million monthly active users as a key component of the purchase and the critical role these populations may play in Microsoft’s various metaverse games.