Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, the tech giant announced Tuesday. The purchase makes Microsoft the third-largest gaming company by revenue, just behind Tencent and Sony. The deal marks the largest ever acquisition in the video game industry by a wide margin, just a week after Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive purchased Zynga for a record $12.7 billion.
Microsoft's acquisition further cements the company's gaming ambitions. The Windows-maker also bought Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in September of 2020 as part of its strategy to boost Xbox Game Pass subscriptions and build out an exclusive library or the Xbox platform. For Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the purchase will play a big role in building out metaverse platforms.
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Nadella said in a statement. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will stay in his role and focus on improving the company's "culture and accelerate business growth," according to the release. The publisher has been embroiled in controversy over sexism and misconduct allegations in past months, which Kotick reportedly knew about. Most recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that dozens of workers have been fired or pushed out over those claims since California filed an ongoing workplace discrimination lawsuit against the company last summer.
Once the deal closes, Kotick will report to Xbox chief Phil Spencer.