Microsoft announced that it intends to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that will make Microsoft one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. With the deal, popular gaming franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, and more will be in the fold of Microsoft’s ever-expanding portfolio of studios, alongside Bethesda and its own Xbox Game Studios.
Also included as part of the deal is King, the makers of Candy Crush, signaling that Microsoft may utilize the company to compete in the mobile space. In early 2021, Take-Two Interactive (which houses developers like 2K, Private Division, and Rockstar Games) purchased Zynga for $12.7 billion.
Though the deal hasn’t come to pass, Microsoft’s intent to acquire Activision Blizzard raises questions around antitrust and around how Microsoft might steer Activision Blizzard’s toxic company culture and make adjustments to its leadership’s role to promote an equitable work environment moving forward. The acquisition was announced after several high-profile claims of sexual harassment were levied against Activision Blizzard, and in July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.”
On December 8th, the FTC announced it was suing Microsoft to block the deal, saying, “we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.” Microsoft’s vice president and chairman Brad Smith responded by saying “We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
We’ll be keeping you updated with the latest news on the big acquisition here, with reports that interrogate how the gaming world might change (in good ways and in bad ways) with one of the largest third-party game studios under Microsoft’s ownership.
- JGoogle and Nvidia have reportedly raised some flags with Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal.
Google and Nvidia provided information that backs a key FTC contention — that Microsoft could gain an unfair advantage in the market for cloud, subscription and mobile gaming — according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential. In its remarks to the FTC, Nvidia stressed the need for equal and open access to game titles but didn’t directly oppose the acquisition, according to one of the people.
‘When both labor and management bring their voices to the bargaining table, employees, shareholders and customers alike benefit.’
- MMicrosoft has formally recognized the ZeniMax union.
QA workers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios have voted to join the Communications Workers of America and, true to its word, Microsoft has formally recognized the organization. That means that the National Labor Relations Board won’t have to litigate the election, and the company and the union can start negotiating.
The approximately 300 workers in the union are looking to “put an end to sudden periods of crunch, unfair pay, and lack of growth opportunities within the company,” according to one employee quoted in the CWA’s press release.Quality Assurance Workers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios Establish Company’s First Union
[Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA)]
- RWorkers at Activision Blizzard’s Proletariat studio are organizing.
Less than a month after a second group of Activision Blizzard workers voted to unionize, the Communications Workers of America announced the latest group filing for a union representation election.
The 57 workers in the unit include animators, designers, engineers, producers and quality assurance workers. Earlier this year, quality assurance workers at Activision’s Raven Software studio in Wisconsin and Blizzard Albany won their union elections, despite Activision Blizzard’s repeated attempts to prevent workers from voting.
“Everyone in the video game industry knows Activision Blizzard’s reputation for creating a hostile work environment, so earlier this year, when we heard that Blizzard was planning to acquire Proletariat, we started to discuss how we could protect the great culture we have created here,” said Dustin Yost, a Software Engineer at Proletariat. “By forming a union and negotiating a contract, we can make sure that we are able to continue doing our best work and create innovative experiences at the frontier of game development.”Proletariat Workers Become Third Group of Activision Blizzard Workers to Form Union with Communications Workers of America
[Communications Workers of America]
The company has filed a 37-page document explaining why it thinks it should be allowed to buy the gaming titan.
Could Indiana Jones or Fallout be number three?
- ADon’t you forget about me.
The folks at the Overwatch League Head Office shared a Grand Finals highlight video capturing all the match’s best moments. Since this is coming more than a month after the Grand Finals ended,
I have the suspicion that during this offseason — with no word how long it’ll be or in what capacity the Overwatch League will return when the fate of its four Chinese teams and the handful of teams that practice with them is up in the air thanks to the deal between Blizzard and its Chinese publishing partner NetEase has now dissolved — Blizzard wants to remind fans of all the fun they had watching in-person and online.
It’s a major challenge to Microsoft’s planned $68.7 billion acquisition of the massive gaming company.
QA testers working on Diablo IV in Albany, New York, have just elected Activision Blizzard’s second union after an actual blizzard delayed the vote.
Games including Hearthstone, Diablo III, Overwatch 2, and Starcraft will also go offline in China in January. NetEase has published games for Blizzard since 2008.
European regulators now have until March 2023 to make a decision on Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft and Sony are both battling behind the scenes over the Activision Blizzard deal, and Microsoft is no longer pulling its punches with regulators
- TEuropean Commission starts reviewing Microsoft’s Activision acquisition.
Regulators in the EU are looking at Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition, and have set a November 8th provisional deadline. It comes nearly a month after the UK’s CMA regulator signaled an in-depth review. Microsoft says “the deal is progressing in line with the expected regulatory schedule and process, and we remain confident that the acquisition will close in fiscal year 2023.”European Commission
Microsoft’s giant $68.7 billion is still months away from closing
A new SEC filing has a detailed timeline
The same goes for other popular Activision Blizzard titles like Overwatch and Diablo
PlayStation Call of Duty fans won’t have to jump to Xbox just yet
After five weeks of striking, QA workers have formed the Game Workers Alliance union
Activision Blizzard acquisition could raise red flags for regulators
Game Pass could extend its lead
Here’s what Microsoft Gaming could look like after closing on the Activision Blizzard deal
If the deal goes through, expect a lot more Xbox on your phone
The exec said, ‘In considering possible partners, all roads ultimately lead to Microsoft’
Phil Spencer gets a promotion