I’m surprised with the recent Blizzard sexual harassment/discrimination court cases. Are those even settled? Didn’t Microsoft have their own come to light in the past few months?
Important to note that the announcement says that Kotick is staying on. This seems like a bad move given his ties both to the abuse problems at Activision and his role in (what I see as) the decline of Activision from a publisher of interesting games 30 years ago to one that basically puts out Call of Duty and a few Blizzard games occasionally.
Right. That makes this all more gross. The bad moves Activision has made over the past few months in dealing with this has been with the acquisition in mind. Those poor choices were good enough for both Activision and Microsoft.
I don’t know how much weight I put on that. In almost every M&A I’ve seen, they’ve said, don’t worry, the old guy will still be around, but the old guy leaves after about a year. I mean, after being king for 20 years, what makes you think Kotick would be happy serving under someone else? He’ll serve for a year, hand everything over to a successor (probably from Microsoft) and get a really handsome payout. Not that things will get better in the meantime.
This is one of those rare occasions where saying up front that the current guy is going away would have been the better business/PR decision though. If everyone knows/assumes that Kotick is going to leave why not just say it and get the good will that could come from that in the current environment?
Though no matter what happens, or how it is handled, Bobby will be just fine of course - rich dicks always are.
ETA: And honestly, if you are going to spend that much money why not buy Take-Two and Square? I assume you could and it would do a better job of removing all the oxygen from Playstation’s room (which I assume is the real goal of this acquisition)
EATA: Actually looks like you could get both Square Enix and Take-Two and still have enough left over to buy Electronic Arts for the price of this deal
Take Two recently bought Zynga so i’m guessing that they don’t want to assume that much debt after buying both Bethesda and ActiBlizz.
I don’t know that Kotick’s name is mud outside of core gaming and tech circles. I joined a personal finance group and most of the talk about ActiBlizz there was how undervalued the stock was during the scandal, how it would all blow over and that Kotick was gold. Most of them made large gains on the stock on the news of the acquisition. Most gamers I know made a loss on ActiBlizz because they sold their stocks upon getting disgusted with the company. Yeah, the reputation among gamers is crap, but this is about impressing the bean counters who don’t know squat about gaming or tech. The gamers have left the stock behind already.
I get that, but as you say the assumption on the part of the bean counters is already that he will leave, so why not get the PR win in the press? I just think it is a (minor) lost opportunity for Microsoft. It’s an especially bad look with this deal coming so quickly after both Sony and Phil Spencer specifically calling out Activision in the press.
Yeah, you’re right. The best way would have been to say that Kotick would stay on to hand things over, but give a definite departure date.
So, with the Kotick stuff out of the way, I guess the question is what does this do for Microsoft? I assume that having Call of duty go exclusive is bad for Sony, but how bad? I mean I don’t care about Call of Duty at all or anything Blizzard has done since the 90s, so I really can’t judge this.
To me it makes very little sense from a getting content for game pass standpoint, which has been the focus of most of their acquisitions over the last couple of years. The only thing I can see is world of Warcraft gets console support as an XBox exclusive, the rest of Blizzard stuff becomes console exclusive and Call of Duty becomes console exclusive. Oh and they get all of the Candy crush money. Is that worth all that money to microsoft? I mean obviously it is but for my game bubble it doesn’t make the kind of sense that bethesda, in exile etc did
ETA: to give you an idea of my gaming bubble, I think that buying Double Fine is the best thing that Microsoft ever did
If I had to guess Sony’s reaction to this, I think they might throw themselves into a studio buying spree. Most likely studios who have a background of developing FPS games like Bungie or attempting to buy Respawn Entertainment from EA. Who knows? The possibility of CoD no longer ending up on Sony’s platforms (even though everything CoD related outside of Warzone has fallen in quality recently) and the lack of first party FPS titles in the recent generations has got to make them sweat. Or they could try to dominate other genres like fighting games if they buy Arc System Works and Eighting (they have already acquired the EVO Fighting Championships).
It would be fun to have Bungie have been owned by both Microsoft and Sony
If you add up all the game companies MSFT owns, they are neck and neck with Sony and Tencent for biggest publisher. My guess is that’s a big chunk of it - competition for the biggest piece of the pie. Of course, more exclusives for GamePass is probably another big chunk of it.
A scenario where gamers win out here is if MSFT takes all the IP and makes their own gaming Metaverse (think: Ready Player One).
No one wins in the metaverse
I have been mulling over what all this means when Antitrust enforcement comes back in vogue. I think of course first, campaign finance reform would have to take place. It is going to be a while.
Sony might be desperate enough to do something like that. While Bungie was under Activision’s umbrella, Sony paid the both of them to produce exclusive content for the Playstation version of Destiny 1/2 to pretty much to the anger of the players of the game so I know they have been keeping a close watch of the studio over the years.
Oh! Maybe Raven will get to do something interesting now!
Narrator: They won’t
I think that’s part of my thing with this whole deal. All of the companies that Activision has acquired over the last x years have just been hollowed out and turned into annualization sweatshops. There’s nothing interesting there
maybe microsoft wants to learn that one neat trick. would explain why they’re keeping the toxic leaders