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How Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Deal Stacks Up Against Other Studio Purchases

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January 18, 2022

Microsoft is officially acquiring Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion – but how does this deal compare to other acquisitions?

In some of the most unexpected gaming news to come in 2022, two industry giants have struck an unprecedented deal. In a report from The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is set to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, the company’s biggest acquisition so far.

With both ZeniMax Media and Mojang already under its belt (along with many others), the Activision Blizzard deal would make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company by revenue. It’s a massive acquisition that makes an existing giant even bigger – but how exactly does this acquisition compare to other studio purchases?

MICROSOFT’S ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEAL VERSUS THEIR OTHER ACQUISITIONS

With Microsoft’s $68.7 billion purchase, they now own the likes of Overwatch, Call of Duty, Diablo, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Starcraft, and more. These games are some of the industry’s most popular, potentially making Microsoft’s revenue increase in staggering amounts. The massive gain and equally massive price are certainly one of gaming’s largest mergers – so large that the deal may require formal examination to see if it creates a monopoly.

The news is especially surprising since it follows Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which occurred less than a year ago. Valued at $7.5 billion, Microsoft completed the purchase in March 2021 only after receiving approval from the European Commission.

ZeniMax is the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, Arkane Studios, and id Software, among a few others. Along with them came the company’s biggest titles, from The Elder Scrolls and Fallout to Doom and Dishonored. At the time, this deal was Microsoft’s biggest gaming acquisition to date.

Previously, Microsoft had also acquired Minecraft‘s Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. Though not nearly Microsoft’s most expensive purchase, $2.5 billion was mind-boggling given it was roughly 20x Mojang’s reported 2013 earnings of $129 million. Now, many consider this deal to be one of Microsoft’s best, as Minecraft continues to dominate over the years.

All in all, there’s no doubt that Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition is on its own entirely unprecedented scale. To put it into perspective, the Activision Blizzard deal is nearly 10x the amount of the ZeniMax deal, and nearly 28x the Mojang acquisition.

MICROSOFT’S DEALS COMPARED TO OTHER STUDIOS

It’s clear that Microsoft has outdone themselves with Activision Blizzard, but the deal becomes even more stupefying when compared to other studio acquisitions.

By far the most substantial comparison is with Sony’s 2019 acquisition of Insomniac Games. Known for their Spyro series, Ratchet & Clank franchise, and Marvel’s Spider-Man games, Insomniac sold to Sony for $229 million. Their following success has certainly placed it among the industry’s best, with each of their games receiving overwhelmingly positive responses. Compared to Activision Blizzard’s $68.7 billion price tag, Sony’s purchase practically looks like a steal.

Additionally, Microsoft entirely eclipses Take-Two’s acquisition of Zynga. In what IGN calls “The Biggest Game Company Acquisition in History”, Take-Two Interactive had purchased the mobile giant for $12.7 billion. With this, Take-Two adds about 40 social games to their roster, alongside Rockstar Games and 2K’s titles. This is the highest they’ve ever paid for an acquisition – the highest anyone has ever paid within the gaming sphere. That is, until now.

All in all, what this all means for the future of the gaming industry is yet to be seen. Many are reasonably worried about what kind of acquisitions-arms-race may follow, or if this will establish a monopoly within the industry. For now, you can find more details on the official Xbox site.

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Natalie Schmidt
@bynatalies

Natalie (She/Her) is a writer and game design enthusiast hailing from way-too-sunny Los Angeles. She loves to dissect game narrative and analyze mechanics, but she doesn’t even want to think about how many hours she’s spent playing D&D or The Witcher 3. Aside from triple-A adventures, she’s passionate about RPGs of all kinds and meaningful representation in games

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