I don’t think anyone had this on their “weird stuff in 2022” bingo card. It feels more like a parachute plan for Bobby Kotick than much else, as he’ll be there for the purchase and get a crazy cut of the deal before heading into the sunset. Impressive how there are no meaningful consequences for the top.
I am not super in to this deal, for a multitude of reasons.
- Microsoft has been on a crazy buying spree. $7B for Bethesda was a crazy purchase. Nearly $70B for this is just a stupid amount of money that few people who already make less than 6 figures will ever see. Except for perhaps Tencent and Roblox, no one else has that kind of dough.
- I have a very strong dislike of monopolies. Very. And Microsoft makes all their money from it. Their business arm stifles innovation, until someone else starts stealing market share. Then they pull a Facebook and just steal the technology putting the other company under.
- The terms of this purchase will be interesting to see. Console exclusivity + PC access are massive red flags to Sony’s Playstation – and Nintendo to some degree. 2 years ago the best exclusives were PS–only. Don’t think that will be the case moving forward.
- In the somewhat good news department, Microsoft doesn’t seem to stick their fingers in the purchases too much. They have yet to pull an EA where they buy a company only to close it a year later.
- Also good news is that Microsoft is somewhat “head above water” when it comes to malpractice on the games side of things. Now, their playerbase is right up there with LoL in terms of scum of the planet, but that’s really what happens when all you have to offer are FPS games.
- This won’t fix anything in regards to Activision Blizzard culture for a long time. It will probably make it worse given that Microsoft lawyers are many notches better than people expect. All those lawsuits and unionization efforts… I would be quite surprised if that situation got any better.
Put another way, if Activision Blizzard hadn’t shot itself in the foot a dozen times and was a flaming wreck, would this purchase be seen as a positive? Like if it happened 2 years ago, what would people think of it then?
Microsoft is not some saviour here. There was some blood in the water, and the purchase price was certainly 30% off or more from what it would have been prior to the pandemic and crisis. This is a money making machine that needed a leadership change. I’d be baffled if Tencent hadn’t made a similar offer.
Here’s hoping that this ends up positive for the people working at the company as much as it can for gamers. I’m not holding my breath.