Microsoft has been spending a lot of money recently to bolster its first party studios. In 2020, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax/Bethesda for $7.5 billion, turning Xbox into the home of iconic franchises like Elder Scrolls (Skyrim), Fallout, and Doom. With this record breaking acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft now owns juggernaut franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Candy Crush.
Xbox has been building its catalog of first party studios with Double Fine (Psychonauts 2), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and The Initiative (Perfect Dark) over the past few years. With Activision Blizzard under its belt, Microsoft now owns over 30 studios.
Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard at the height of a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the company for sexual harassment and discrimination directed toward women at the company, with much of the attention falling on the shoulders of Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick.
Until the deal closes in 2023, Activision Blizzard will operate independently, but after, Bobby Kotick will leave the company, with Activision Blizzard reporting to Phil Spencer as the CEO of Microsoft Gaming.