Do you think Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard is good for the gaming industry?

Phil Spencer Xbox 20 Celebration
Phil Spencer Xbox 20 Celebration (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft confirmed that it is buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The move will cause ripples throughout the entire gaming industry, as Activision Blizzard is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. Microsoft detailed that it plans to launch Activision Blizzard games onto Xbox Game Pass, which will greatly expand the company's gaming subscription service. After the deal is finalized, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios and be one of the largest gaming companies on earth.

The benefits to Microsoft of such a deal are obvious. Activision Blizzard is a massive gaming company that makes Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft, and many other big-name games. Having these games on Xbox Game Pass should help Microsoft push the streaming service to new heights. Microsoft will also be able to shape the franchises in a direction that it likes, which may help recover some struggling properties.

Of course, Microsoft will also be able to ensure that any Activision Blizzard games are available on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs.

Microsoft's longstanding IP, the company's purchase of ZeniMax in 2020, and the recently announced acquisition of Activision Blizzard push Microsoft even further into the upper echelon of gaming. Once the purchase of Activision Blizzard is complete, Microsoft will be the third-largest gaming company by revenue, only trailing Tencent and Sony.

While the move has clear benefits for Microsoft, some have already expressed concern that the sale of Activision Blizzard marches the gaming world toward a small handful of corporations controlling the industry. Tencent, Sony, and Microsoft would control the lion's share of the most popular games, which comes with risks.

Others note that while the industry is consolidated, there are enough big players to balance each other out.

Another factor in the newly announced deal is that Activision Blizzard is under heavy scrutiny for allegations of fostering a sexist workplace environment and allowing abusive behaviors to go without punishment. Hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees signed a petition to remove the company's CEO Bobby Kotick.

With Activision Blizzard facing a lawsuit and criticism, new leadership could help the company regain its direction. Microsoft specified that Bobby Kotick will remain the CEO of Activision Blizzard, but after the deal is finalized, Activision Blizzard will report to Phil Spencer.

Only a few months ago, Spencer was said to be reevaluating Microsoft's relationship with Activision Blizzard. Given today's announcement, it's safe to say the relationship was indeed reevaluated.

Where do you stand? Do you think Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard is good for the gaming industry? Let us know in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

18 Comments
  • Can you guys at least proof read the title of the survey?
  • Several layers to deal with the question that I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I THINK this is good where Blizzard is concerned, management there was clearly going to hell since at least after Mike Morhaime left - but likely quite a bit before that, with his leaving being a direct consequence -, but I'm not sure I can say the same with Call of Duty: I don't think it's good for gaming for Playstation to lose access to future games of the franchise.
  • It's hard to imagine it going exclusive. In my mind it's on the level of Minecraft. But Bethesda makes me second guess that. Who knows what will happen. My guess is CoD is the only one to stay multi plat.
  • I think Warzone could stay multiplatform, but the campaigns would go exclusive.
  • Most likely Cross platform titles will remain cross platform.
  • Think there's plenty of competition whereby this acquisition won't inhibit a competitive landscape from thriving. I think the last couple of mega acquisitions in gaming over the last year or so will trigger more... Sony, Apple, Google, Facebook, or Amazon will probably buy Nintendo, EA, and/or Take2 next
  • I think it's good for the consumers, potentially. The concern I have is for mobile versions of certain games like CoD. Will MS allow Blizzard to continue to make and grow those games or focus on console, PC and Game streaming? As long as MS doesn't mess with already established mobile games, they can really use it for their benefit and it would keep the gaming community fairly happy. Imo
  • Good for microsoft and it's fan base.
  • Similar to what the article states, it seems logical that some franchises, like COD, should remain platform agnostic like Minecraft is. The marketing spin will be that it plays best on Xbox and is available on Game Pass. As an Xbox gamer, I love the acquisition. As an entrepreneurs, investor, and general business-crazed individual myself, I love the shot across the bow at Playstation. I don't understand why there is such an uproar when an acquisition happens in the videogame industry. This happens everywhere else and nobody bats an eye. How is it any different than other companies like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google..and the list goes on...buying content, studios, and brands and keeping it exclusive so you'll subscribe to their service? Does anyone subscribe to Apple TV+, Disney+, or any number of services specifically due to exclusive content? Perhaps gamers should rejoice that these great games will become more easily accessible where and when they want for only $10-15 a month?
  • The issue is most people are spineless and selfish. They'll flip and complain when "their team" loses content over this (Xbox people didn't hate CoD when they were the ones getting early access and exclusive DLC in the 360 days). One thing that does make it a little different is that the cost of entry for those streaming services is generally lower, though, and those licensing deals are typically temporary. If another service has something you want, you can pay the $10/month for a month or two to watch what you want. If the other gaming platform has what you want, you have to spend hundreds on hardware, then sign up for the service, and you might have to (or be prodded to) buy DLC to experience the full game content. Plus, you do TECHNICALLY have the alternate route of buying Blu-Rays, if you won't like the streaming solution, when it comes to TV. Don't want to get Hulu to watch Friends? Mad that Netflix pulled The Office? You have options, but this potentially takes numerous existing franchises away from fans on PlayStation with no option other than "fight scalpers for a Series X, then sign up for Game Pass forever to not lose access to the games you want."
  • I would argue that you're missing a couple of points here though. 1.) Microsoft typically has been putting their games out, day one on Xbox and PC. So you don't NEED a Series X.
    2.) They have proven they understand when games should and shouldn't be exclusive just because they own it so far. It's kinda too early to be sure what they're doing with Bethesda's existing properties but Minecraft has continued to be successful on everything and they did put Minecraft Dungeons out on everything, did they not? (They did)
    3.) The core future of Xbox and game pass is streaming and that will potentially be hardware agnostic. Obviously, that's speculation, but that seems to be where they want to go with it.
  • Honestly, people saying this is good for gaming are either only interested in seeing Kotick ousted on the way or complete fanboys. I really don't want to see this be a TV show streaming service arms race, but for games. What if, in retaliation, Sony went and bought EA or Ubisoft, or another team of similar size? I imagine the poll on here would be quite different, were the content being taken away from Xbox, rather than PlayStation.
  • Instead of only looking at the temporary negative side of the story, let's take a look at the potential positive side. Let's say Sony buys EA. I think they'd be crazy to lock Xbox/Nintendo gamers out of certain games like FIFA, Madden, etc., but let's assume they decide to keep them exclusive. If Microsoft doesn't have a sporting alternative, they'd be smart to begin developing one, creating competition and a new choice for gamers in the marketplace. I, personally, would follow FIFA to a platform if it were no longer available on Xbox. Again, I still think it would be crazy to make certain games like FIFA exclusive to Playstation/PC. We all know it's inevitable that Sony joins the Game Pass bandwagon with a subscription service. As an Xbox gamer, I'd subscribe to the Playstation Game Pass in order to play FIFA, creating a benefit for Playstation and, as a result, the Playstation ecosystem. This consistent revenue stream will allow Playstation to continue investing in new, original content that will keep Playstation fans happy but also attract gamers like me that may not otherwise have bought a PS5. Just a thought...
  • Well, I'd argue, from a business perspective, it would be ridiculous for Microsoft to not at least try, if the company was up for sale. Why let a huge gaming company like Activision/Blizzard be bought by a competitor, whether Sony or someone else and risk losing gamers? Some of the most popular games made by Activision are on Xbox. Why would they risk having that change, due to possibly being blocked out completely or lack of access to quality content? At least MS has Game Pass and many of these games will be streamable on most devices, not just PC and XBOX.
  • The thing is, Sony COULDN'T buy Activision Blizzard, they just plain don't have the money to do that, same with buying EA, or Ubisoft. Sony can't afford it.
  • That may be, but not the point. The point is, I believe gamers would benefit more from Microsoft buying the company as a whole. I doubt there would have been little to keep Activision, Blizzardfrom selling off the rights to specific titles, if no one was willing to buy. Even if Sony had the means, it would only benefit Playstation gamers. I doubt they would make any games acquired available to Xbox gamers and any content already on the system would likely lack any future content.
  • Well if they didn't do it, Google, Facebook or Amazon would have. I have more faith in MS than those three. How do you take the wind out of the circulating news of PlayStation game pass? Announce the purchase of one of the biggest gaming companies . Check, mate. The question now is who is their next Target?
  • To be honest, this was bound to be happen sooner or later. If not Microsoft, it would be Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon or Sony. I'd rather have Microsoft acquire Activision Blizzard than any of the aforementioned companies. Plus, publishers have been snapping up studios and then shutting them down. For me it boils down to is actions done by the Xbox Division under Phil Spencer et al. All they have done so far is bring as many games they could to Xbox (as well as new gamers with cloud streaming you don't need a console or a PC), keep cross platform games as cross platform, previous acquired Studios still have autonomy.