Forty-three years as a game development company third party first in the world, Activision Blizzard has been purchased by one of the owners platform major in the industry, Microsoft. This developer was redeemed at a price of USD 68.7 billion or equivalent to Rp. 986 trillion.
The company, which was founded by a group of disgruntled Atari employees who decided to start their own company, is now controlled by Microsoft. Franchise like Call of Duty, Diablo, Starcraft, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft of course in it. The question is, how will this change of ownership affect the players?
Big acquisitions are nothing new in the video game industry. Previously, Activision, which had become one of the companies video game the largest also joined Blizzard under a deal of USD 18.9 billion.
Regarding buying and selling, Microsoft and Sony are like being in a boxing ring. The two regularly buy pre-existing development studios. Of course the goal is to take over their intellectual property (IP) and make it available exclusively on their platform.
In the past decade, Microsoft has been the most aggressive. He bought Mojang, the developer Minecraft in 2014 amounted to USD 2.5 billion. In 2020, publisher Elder Scrolls and Doom ZeniMax also successfully purchased for USD 7.5 billion. With the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is now the third largest company in the industry, behind TenCent and Sony.
Game pass be the main focus
There are many ways for developers to create their own gaming ecosystem. For example like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV Online which requires players to pay for expansions in addition to paying monthly subscriptions. Meanwhile, games like Valuing and Fortnite, encouraging players to battle passes and cool skins.
When the company that owns these games collects new data from their millions of players, buyers like Microsoft are buying several cities filled with players. Call of Duty, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and many other titles.
The main reason for Microsoft to make massive purchases is none other than part of its business strategy. The focus is of course on the Xbox Game Pass service. Similar to Netflix in movies and Spotify in music, Xbox Game Pass gives subscribers access to a large catalog of digital games for one monthly fee.
Plus minus, really. For a monthly fee, gamers can enjoy a number of games; for example Back 4 Blood, World War Z, Wasteland, and maybe various Blizzard games that cost hundreds of thousands of rupiah. But, it feels like enjoying without owning it, for game collectors, of course this is a big consideration.
Like an exclusive series on an OTT platform, Microsoft could really make the Activision Blizzard franchise available only through Game Pass. Yep, the strategy is forcing customers away from rival consoles (Playstation) or distribution platforms such as Steam and Epic which lately often promote by giving away free games.
In other words, Microsoft can draw consumers into its own exclusive sphere. The general strategy is, when a subscription-based digital platform appears, we stop being product owners and instead become tenants.
So what impact will it have on gamers whose parent was acquired?
Over the coming years, Microsoft may decide to keep this newly acquired franchise for its own platform. For PC players, there is a possibility of switching from Steam or Battlenet to the Microsoft Game Store. It’s uncomfortable, but not radical.
For Playstation players and Mac users, it seems that they have to endure emotions. You may have to buy a PC or Xbox if you want to play this acquired franchise in the future. However, in a tweet, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealed that Xbox has made sure that it honors all agreements contained in the Activision Blizzard acquisition agreement.
“Sony is an important part of the industry we focus on and we value the relationship that has been built,” said Phil.
Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony. I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 20, 2022
Activision Blizzard has also mentioned that Microsoft will continue to present games under its umbrella Activision Blizzard on other platforms post-acquisition.
However, the players World of Warcraft is also feeling giddy. Will the system later? subscription will change? For the record, WoW players can farming gold to buy tokens that can be exchanged for 30 days of game time.
Like Marvel’s dominance in the film industry, many are concerned that the ongoing merger of the two giants will stifle creativity and innovation throughout the video game industry. Calm down, reported Global Games, researcher Aphra Kerr revealed that most of the revenue generated by the gaming industry is still concentrated in a number of small game companies. There is still a lot of room to produce new genres from small developers.
The book also talks about the many new and varied genres we’ve seen over the last decade. This is because independent content creators can access powerful tools such as the Unity and Unreal game engines, and a larger audience through digital marketplaces; such as Steam or Xbox Game Pass.
On the other hand, the news of the acquisition Activision Blizzard it brings a bit of a breath of fresh air. In the midst of facing prosecution for cases of harassment and sexism, Microsoft must now clean up the work culture to the good name of Activision Blizzard. Will Microsoft take on this task, or will it turn a blind eye and just focus on its business? We wait!