Microsoft completed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard on Friday, bolstering its position in the video-game market with best-selling titles such as Call of Duty to fight with industry leader Sony.
Originally announced in January 2022, the largest gaming acquisition passed its final major barrier — British permission — earlier in the day when Microsoft agreed to sell streaming rights for Activision’s titles in order to ease competition concerns.
The completion represents a significant victory for the US technology company in its efforts to attract more customers to its Xbox systems and Game Pass subscription service. Microsoft’s gaming revenue is lower than Sony’s, whose PlayStation systems outsell the Xbox.
“Today is a good day to play,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote on the X social media network, which was previously known as Twitter. He will supervise the Activision business, with CEO Bobby Kotick continuing on until the end of 2023.
Spencer has promoted the acquisition as a means for Microsoft to break into the more than $90 billion mobile game market. Activision creates popular mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Call of Duty Mobile, which were left out of Microsoft’s cloud streaming agreement with France’s Ubisoft Entertainment in order to gain approval from the UK.
“Microsoft instantly has more than $3 billion in mobile revenues,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
“The big benefit is that Microsoft has a vision of delivering games via subscription, and they need more content to give subscribers.” So this is a significant step towards having enough content,” he said.