MicrosoftMicrosoft will purchase Activision Blizzard (the developer behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft) for $68.7 Billion. This is the third largest acquisition by Microsoft in history. It will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company, behind Tencent and Sony. But more importantly, it will kick off Microsoft’s venture into the metaverse.Admittedly, the term “metaverse” gets thrown around a bit more than it should. Virtual reality and AR applications don’t have much to do with the metaverse. This is a virtual world that you can access from any device including your phone or TV.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform has already helped to create the foundation for a early metaverse. It powers Windows 365 and Xbox Cloud Gaming. These services are the first incarnations of the futuristic metaverse. They work on all platforms and provide users with on-demand access data that would normally be stored at home or at work.
Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) explained that gaming is “critical” to the development of metaverse platforms. Activision Blizzard has the knowledge and experience of mobile software and AI to help with this kind of development.
Here’s Satya Nadella explaining Microsoft’s metaverse during a conference call with Activision Blizzard.
We must support multiple metaverse platforms as well as an ecosystem of content, commerce, and applications. The metaverse is a collection of individuals and communities that are anchored in strong content franchises. It is accessible on all devices. This transaction brings together entertainment and new technologies, communities, and business models.
Yes, Microsoft’s vision for the metaverse feels less corporate than Mark Zuckerberg’s. I don’t think you’ll see Microsoft proudly leading the charge for VR office meetings or VR advertisements–well, not for the next few years, at least.
Both Meta and Microsoft share the same goal: take existing communities and place them in an always online universe to strengthen their connection with corporations. Satya Nadella states that Microsoft’s metaverse will eliminate all barriers between content, consumption, and commerce by “intersecting global community rooted in strong franchises.”
It is a little difficult to understand the steps that lead to this metaverse. Microsoft’s acquisition Activision Blizzard was not a short-term plan. We know that there will be some changes after the deal is completed. Microsoft claims that Activision Blizzard content will be available on Game Pass. However, Microsoft plans to continue supporting Activision Blizzard content via third-party platforms.
A few last-minute details are worth mentioning. First, Microsoft has confirmed that Bobby Kotick will remain Activision Blizzard CEO (under supervision of Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming’s new CEO). This is a strange move that will reflect poorly on both companies given recent reports that Bobby Kotick had ignored allegations of sexual misconduct within Activision Blizzard. Over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees, both current and former, signed a petition calling on Kotick to resign last year.
There is no guarantee that Microsoft will purchase Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is already a major player in gaming and could be subject to scrutiny by regulators. They are currently fighting anti-trust bills that could change the way big tech companies operate.
Source: Microsoft (1. 2, 3. 4)