Microsoft Activision Blizzard Merger Completed After Major Hurdles Cleared

Microsoft has announced that its historic Activision-Blizzard merger has finally been completed.

Published: October 13, 2023 9:10 AM /


Artwork of several Activision Blizzard characters like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro to represent the Microsoft merger

Microsoft has announced that its Activision-Blizzard merger is finally complete, meaning the studio is now officially part of Microsoft.

This news was announced via an Xbox blog earlier today, in which Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer promises to create a "culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work".

According to Spencer, the work to bring Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass begins today, and Xbox will share more about when you can play the studio's games on the service "in the coming months".

This deal has been quite a while in the making for Microsoft.

Originally announced in early 2022, the deal was subsequently approved by authorities like Turkey, Ukraine, and South Africa, among many others.

However, the UK's CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) and the US FTC expressed concerns about the deal, prompting these authorities to seek to block it.

The FTC's attempt to block the deal was subsequently denied by a judge, but the UK CMA remained a holdout, citing concerns surrounding a potential cloud gaming monopoly.

Eventually, Microsoft and the CMA negotiated a new form of the deal in which cloud rights for Activision Blizzard's games would be ceded to a third party in the form of Ubisoft.

The CMA issued its preliminary approval for that form of the deal in September, then formally approved the deal in full, paving the way for today's completion.

This deal has also been happening against the backdrop of several workplace culture-related complaints against Activision Blizzard.

These complaints include ongoing reports of harassment and toxicity in the workplace, as well as accusations of attempts to stifle unions being formed by Activision Blizzard employees.

We don't yet know how, or even if, the workplace culture at Activision Blizzard will change as a result of this merger, but earlier this year, Microsoft recognized its first union in the form of QA workers at ZeniMax, so we know that the company is amenable to workers' collectives.

For his own part, CEO Bobby Kotick says Spencer has "asked [him] to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him".

Kotick says he and Spencer have agreed to Kotick retaining his position "through the end of 2023", seemingly suggesting that Kotick will depart his position as CEO in January 2024.

Whatever the weather, this is a historic event; it's the biggest acquisition in gaming history, and it further solidifies Microsoft's position as one of the biggest companies in the world. Stay tuned for more.

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