Why Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition is not living up to expectations

The potential deal involves some huge franchises of the gaming industry (Image via Activision Blizzard)
The potential deal involves some huge franchises of the gaming industry (Image via Activision Blizzard)

When Microsoft announced its ambitions to acquire Activision Blizzard, it sent shockwaves through the gaming community. Since then, things have been dicey as several approvals are required to finalize the deal. As the situation stands, much of the initial hype and sheen that was created seems lost.

Deals and acquisitions in the gaming industry aren't uncommon and have been happening for some time now. However, the sheer scale of the franchises involved and the valuation made the community react like never before. That being said, the earlier euphoria is somewhat lost, and there are ample reasons to make a guess.

A deal valued at around $70 billion is sure to take time, and Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been no different. The loss of luster is much more than that and has also led to fans losing interest. While there are few doubts about the deal's potential success, the impact could be much deeper than anticipated.

Microsoft's efforts to get its Activision Blizzard deal green-lit seems forced and naive

In a recent development, Microsoft has released a dedicated website where the company emphasizes its vision for the future, and discusses how it will benefit the different stakeholders. While the attempt might be alright, what has happened until now has raised questions about the expected impact.


The biggest threat to Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is its valuation. A $70-billion number is staggering in any sector besides the gaming industry. Nevertheless, the valuation isn't unnatural, given the franchises involved. A series like Call of Duty earned over $5 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year.

One area where the deal has lost some steam is with the future of Call of Duty. The military shooter has been a money-maker for not just Activision, but for Sony PlayStation as well.

Once the acquisition is complete, the franchise might eventually become exclusive on Xbox. Based on the available information, Sony will be able to keep the franchise for three more years following the deal's completion.

Phil Spencer says goal is to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation & expand where people can play & that's goal for every game.20 seconds later...Says Exclusives are backbone to industry and Xbox will continue to have exclusives....after saying Exclusives are Counter to Gaming🙃🥴

Again, this contradicts what Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has reiterated about gaming and exclusives. He has regularly spoken about how exclusivity can harm consumers who are robbed of the chance to play a title simply because they don't own the correct platform.

Yet, making Call of Duty an exclusive after the Microsoft acquisition, even after three years, will seem a bit hypocritical.

Franchises like Call of Duty aren't the only big ones under the house of Activision Blizzard. Making them exclusive to Xbox consoles and part of the Xbox Game Pass can be massively profitable for the company. It could help establish the same ecosystem that Phil Spencer has spoken about in the past.

Now let's see if the UK regulator agrees that its job isn't to protect Sony's revenue, because ultimately that's the only real impact this deal has here. Nintendo gets Call of Duty as a result of this deal, gamers get it in XGP/cloud too, Steam Deck will get more Acti games too…

Xbox has towed along the lines of exclusivity in the current-gen, with Starfield as one example. What makes the deal lose its charm is the uncertainties surrounding it. Getting the deal done is the most sureshot outcome at the moment. Yet, there's no security over it happening at the moment, despite Phil Spencer and Microsoft Satya Nadella being quite optimistic about their chances.

The website's release has sent mixed signals to players who had been hoping for the deal to be completed. Details have been predicted to be finalized around mid-2023, so there doesn't seem to be a delay as of now. Given the parties involved, the deal getting canceled seems highly unlikely.

Having said that, fans will want to see some closure on the finer details that are in play. If Call of Duty goes the exclusive route in the future, an enthusiast is likely to invest in an Xbox Series XlS. While delays in the legal process are expected, the lack of clarity on the franchises' future is making many consumers doubt the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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