Xbox Bought Activision: What this Means for Gaming (Slogging Insights)by@jackboreham
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Xbox Bought Activision: What this Means for Gaming (Slogging Insights)

by Jack BorehamJanuary 25th, 2022
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In this slogging thread, the team at Hackernoon discusses what we think of the recent acquisition of Activision by Microsoft. We discuss, why they bought them and what this means for the gaming industry.

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In this slogging thread, the team at Hackernoon discusses what we think of the recent acquisition of Activision by Microsoft. We discuss, why they bought them and what this means for the gaming industry.

This Slogging thread by occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.

Jack BorehamJan 18, 2022, 2:33 PM

Microsoft just bought Activision!!! What do you think of this acquisition?

Limarc AmbalinaJan 18, 2022, 3:58 PM THIS IS A BIG ONE. Jose Hernandez Blake Cram Evgeny interested to hear your thoughts!

Adrian MoralesJan 18, 2022, 5:50 PM

This is such crazy news, and there is so much to speculate about for the gaming industry's future with this acquisition. I honestly don't know if I love this decision. On the one hand, I am a massive fan of games, and I generally purchase every major console from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft because I will go wherever the games are. As a platform-agnostic consumer, this won't affect me much. But on the other hand, this is now a massive shift from the days where Microsoft and Sony would purchase individual studios like Obsidian or Bluepoint that, while strong, could use some financial backing. The market is starting to get very sectioned off.

With the purchase of Bethesda and now Activision, Microsoft clearly has its sights set on bringing mega publishers into the fold, effectively taking a lot of third-party games away from other consoles. And they can do this because Microsoft has a deep, deep wallet that Sony cannot compete with. Inevitably Sony will have to respond. I can only speculate that they would probably purchase Square Enix or Capcom as they have close relationships with those companies. Still, this will only further section off third-party support across all consoles, which is a huge part of gaming for most gamers. They fill in the gaps between the major console exclusives of the year, but it seems like everything will be some sort of console exclusive in one way or another very soon. 

What purchase is next? EA? Ubisoft? How divided will the market become in the next five years as the big three become more competitive? It is a crazy time to be a gamer in this market.

Jose HernandezJan 18, 2022, 6:56 PM

This is like 8 times the amount they paid for Zenimax. This is borderline unbelievable

Blake CramJan 18, 2022, 7:04 PM

Damn. We thought Xbox buying out Bethesda was huge… this is Microsoft seriously balling out to make a dent in the console wars. Here are my quick thoughts:

  1. Game Pass is going to be an even more insane bargain than it already was.
  2. I don't know how much money Microsoft has, but they've gotta be in the hole on all of these investments (streaming services like Netflix still haven't turned a profit with that model), so I'm curious how this business strategy will turn out.
  3. Don't feel great about the Bobby Kotick aspect of this. It's unclear whether Microsoft will allow him to be CEO when the deal finalizes, but this is an opportunity for Phil Spencer and Xbox to make a big statement on industry misconduct. Regardless, it feels like Kotick is getting a really easy out with this deal happening.
Blake CramJan 18, 2022, 7:05 PM

Blake CramJan 18, 2022, 7:05 PM

EvgenyJan 18, 2022, 7:50 PM

That's really huge. I guess Microsoft is aiming to win the console war and become the mouthpiece of the gaming industry (which they almost already are).

Marc MagriniJan 18, 2022, 10:41 PM

I'm not so sure about winning console wars, as Microsoft has been open about putting their games on more platforms - Banjo-Kazooie is finally coming to Switch, after all. But between their acquisitions of ZeniMax and other major studios since 2018, it does feel like this might be part of something bigger. It could also just be them taking advantage of Activision Blizzard's horrible situation, so time will tell how far this truly leads.

Jack BorehamJan 19, 2022, 2:30 PM

That guy in the comments sums it up!

Jack BorehamJan 19, 2022, 2:35 PM

Great discussion, guys, and some excellent points. I'm a bit torn about this acquisition. On the one hand, I do think it will enable gaming to become more accessible through games pass etc. and x cloud, but on the other, I think it's just huge market capitalisation. Microsoft is carving out the video game market, and PlayStation will probably follow suit. Monopolies are starting to form, and that's never good.

Limarc AmbalinaJan 19, 2022, 5:14 PM

This one is better

Limarc AmbalinaJan 19, 2022, 5:16 PM

If it's a business play to make more revenue: I can't see how this wouldn't work. They bought Activision at a good time because of the scandals and their stock was down a bit. From a branding standpoint, did you want to buy a company with tons of sexual harassment complaints? If it's a play "to win the console wars" or be THE gaming company. It's not gonna work IMO. Sure Microsoft owns them, but I still think of Bethesda as Bethesda. I don't really care who owns them.

Blake CramJan 19, 2022, 10:27 PM

I think everyone's points flesh out how complex this is compared to acquisitions like Disney buying Star Wars and Marvel. I think makes a good point, this is far beyond the old school “console wars” and is more so a war for content. However, games still need to be played on a dedicated machine for now until cloud gaming or streaming takes off. And until then, there has to be some competition for the “box” you use even though Microsoft is playing nice with Nintendo and PC platforms. They'll absolutely be taking CoD from Sony… you don't spend 68 billion dollars to let your competitors use your new toys. This is a big deal because while I absolutely side with in that I am obsessed enough to own and love multiple consoles, most folks can only buy one— and that choice will fuel at least some competition for where gamers play their games.

Blake CramJan 19, 2022, 10:33 PM

Curious to see what Sony does after this… I think Nintendo will be fine filling their niche. But, I think Sony either has to get ultra-competitive with their rumoured streaming service by acquiring content like Microsoft is doing, or double down on their niche exclusives like Nintendo. Perhaps they can survive by being the system that gives gamers a bit of both, but I think we PlayStation fans have a little reason for concern.

Jack BorehamJan 20, 2022, 9:52 AM

Blake Cram, I agree that Playstation might double down on their first-party titles. I think those who think Microsoft will not make some of these games like cod exclusive are in fairy tale land. They need to capitalise on the investment; you don't just splash out 70 billion for “some” exclusivity.

Jack BorehamJan 20, 2022, 9:55 AM

They might be taking advantage of the situation, but I think they had Activision in their sites for a long time! It's definitely a games pass ploy. They really believe in it! Sara Pinto Mónica Freitas, what do you guys think about monopolies and acquisitions of this size?

Mónica FreitasJan 20, 2022, 8:52 PM

Jack Boreham, I think it's inevitable to get these monopolies. When big corporations got the means to buy practically everything, it doesn't come as a surprise that Microsoft would buy any profitable company that might steal their thunder - that way, they keep increasing their profits.

Jack BorehamJan 21, 2022, 4:40 PM

Mónica Freitas do you think it damages industries?

Mónica FreitasJan 24, 2022, 11:56 AM

Jack Boreham, I think it annuls competition in part. And may hinder innovation. If you don't have anyone forcing you to do better, be creative, no one to challenge you, you probably keep doing the same old things - this applies to companies as well. Being part of a monopoly can negate each company's original drive for innovation.