What you need to know
- Microsoft is trying to acquire Activision-Blizzard, known for gaming franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Diablo.
- The deal is expected to close by the summer of 2023, but needs regulatory approval to go ahead.
- At least one more gaming CEO has thrown its weight behind the deal, saying that it's a good thing for the industry.
Microsoft's lumbering Activision-Blizzard deal continues, with more and more regulators approving the acquisition. There's $72 billion dollars on the line, which will give Xbox commanding control of franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, and many, many more.
The deal is, of course, controversial. Sony's PlayStation arm has been vocally opposed to the deal, with claims that it will hurt their competitive advantage. Of course, regulators aren't here to protect corporation's profits, but instead, foster healthy competition between said corporations. Some have wondered whether gaining control of some of the world's biggest gaming franchises might give Microsoft an undue amount of power. Microsoft has repeatedly bitten back, however, saying that even after the deal they still won't be the largest company by revenue, while also noting that Nintendo has done absolutely fine without access to franchises like Call of Duty or World of Warcraft.
Another company has sat up and spoken out about the deal this past week. It's Take-Two Interactive's Strauss Zelnick, CEO over games like Borderlands, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption. Take Two also purchased mobile heavyweight Zynga a short while ago, to better position itself in a rapidly evolving gaming landscape.
In comments to Yahoo Business (via BenjiSales), Zelnick reportedly welcomed the deal, with Yahoo stating that Zelnick sees Microsoft as an ally. The GTA CEO also noted that all gaming titles stand alone and can compete freely. It's a comment echoed by Microsoft itself, who has long referred to the rise of smaller indie games like Minecraft and Among Us, that can proliferate out of nowhere due to the openness of platforms like Steam and become million-dollar, billion-dollar businesses in their own right.
"Ultimately the consumer votes, and if we create great hits, which is our business, then consumers will show up, and no one can take that away from us. (...) The entertainment business is the antithesis of a fungible commoditized business. Every title stands alone. So it sort of doesn’t compete with anything else and yet, it’s highly competitive in a way. In other words, we compete with everything and we compete with nothing. You can’t replace one of our titles with another title."
The comments will undoubtedly be sweet to Microsoft's ears as it turns its attention to regulators in Europe and the United States, following their win in Brazil. The European Union has already requested feedback from publishers within its economic zone, and doubtless Zelnick's comments are likely in-line with what Take Two itself will submit as an entity.
Microsoft expects the deal to close by the end of their Fiscal Year 2023, which would be around June of next year.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!