EXPLAINER: MICROSOFT'S ACTIVISION BUY COULD SHAKE UP GAMING
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #534
Microsoft stunned the gaming industry when it announced this week it would buy game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that would immediately make it a larger video-game company than Nintendo.

Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, said the deal would be good for gamers and advance its ambitions for the metaverse — a vision for creating immersive virtual worlds for both work and play.

But what does the deal really mean for the millions of people who play video games, either on consoles or their phones? And will it actually happen at a time of increased government scrutiny over giant mergers in the U.S. and elsewhere?

SO, IS IT GOOD FOR GAMERS?

Some industry watchers think so, especially if Microsoft’s games-for-everybody mission and mountain of cash can rescue Activision from its reputation for abandoning favorite game franchises while focusing on a few choice properties.

“Microsoft wants to increase the variety of intellectual property,” said Forrester analyst Will McKeon-White. “Their target is anyone and everybody who plays video games and they want to bring that to a wider audience.”

He said the “most egregious” example of a popular franchise that Activision, founded in 1979, left by the wayside is Starcraft, last updated in 2015. Others include Guitar Hero, the Tony Hawk skateboarding games and MechWarrior, which McKeon-White said “basically wasn’t touched for two decades.”

On the other hand, the prospect of Microsoft controlling so much game content — from Call of Duty to Candy Crush — raised concerns about whether the company could restrict Activision games from competing consoles.

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