This is not a drill! Microsoft has announced today that it is acquiring Activision Blizzard, in a transaction reportedly valued at $70 billion (update: now confirmed as $68.7B). When the deal closes, Activision Blizzard's games will also be integrated into Xbox Game Pass — Microsoft says it expects the deal to close in fiscal year 2023, which falls between July 2022 and June 2023.
The company says it is "incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across 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, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard."
Of course, this means the likes of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Tony Hawk, Overwatch, Diablo and many other franchises will be under the ownership of Microsoft as soon as the deal closes.
Until then, Activision Blizzard will continue to operate independently, after which time the business will report to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer as "CEO, Microsoft Gaming". It sounds like Phil's got himself a new title!
As for the Game Pass news, Team Xbox says it "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" — but again, we'll need to wait until the deal is properly finalised until that happens.
"Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games. And there has never been a better time to play than right now. As we extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone, we look forward to welcoming all of our friends at Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming."
What do you make of this unbelievable news? Let us know down in the comments below.