Gaming will never be the same again (pic: Activison)
A reader fears the long term effects of the Activision Blizzard acquisition will be worse than many realise, for both Microsoft and Sony.
If there’s one thing I can be certain gamers are sick of hearing about, it’s Activision Blizzard. So I hesitated to even try writing this feature. However, I’m not here to discuss the rights and wrongs of Microsoft and Sony and am quite happy to point out that they’re two giant corporations whose execs would happily sell their grandmothers to put an extra dollar on their share price – so I’m not going to pretend one or the other has the moral high ground.
What I do want to talk about though is the deleterious (check me out!) effect all this is having on the games industry and gamers themselves. The acquisition was announced in January 2022 for $69 billion, which is such a huge amount of money it’s almost incomprehensible. But to put it in perspective, Disney bought Star Wars for just $4 billion, and this is the largest acquisition that Microsoft – at times the largest company in the world – has ever made.
There is nothing normal about trying to buy the games industry’s biggest publisher and Microsoft know they will be pulling off a huge coup if they do, which is why Sony is fighting against is so strongly. What worries me is that it means the pair of them are getting nothing else done in the meantime. Both their release schedules have fallen away to almost nothing since the announcement and they’re both currently terrified of doing something that undermines what they’ve told the monopoly investigators.
Microsoft has already used the success of The Last Of Us as proof that Sony doesn’t need Call Of Duty and Sony has used Redfall and Starfield to prove that Microsoft secretly wants everything exclusive. So we’re not going to get a Fable reveal or news of another major PlayStation 5 exclusive until this whole thing is done and dusted and that could take months, maybe even years.
They’ll have to break rank at some point, they can’t release nothing at all, but the outcome of the acquisition is now much more important to both companies than anything else.
For as long as they can, they’re going to continue to avoid announcing or doing anything that could change the situation against them and it’s pitiful to watch happen. It’ll take years to recover from all this, on top of all the problems of the pandemic. Not only that but consider all the problems Microsoft has had managing the developers it’s bought already.
Now imagine the trouble they’ll have making Activision and Blizzard part of Microsoft. Two massive companies with multiple studios, where the only reason Microsoft could afford them is because their share price took a dive when it was discovered how badly they’re run, in terms of toxic workplace condition.
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