call of duty

There’s a massive piece of consolidation afoot in the games industry, although there is still a chance it could be blocked by regulators. Microsoft has announced plans to acquire games publisher Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal that would value the latter at $68.7bn.

It would bring Microsoft ownership not just of console and PC brands like Call of Duty, Warcraft and Overwatch, but also mobile games including Candy Crush Saga (acquired in a 2016 purchase of mobile firm King for $5.9bn). “We will invest and innovate to create the best content, community and cloud for gamers,” promised Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an email to staff.

Microsoft expects the deal to close in its 2023 financial year, which runs from July 2022 to the end of June 2023.

But about those regulators… Vox has a piece suggesting that the US Federal Trade Commission, which is currently fairly hawkish on tech industry consolidation, may well probe the deal. “A lot of people will care about this one. Both because a lot of people play games — hence the $69 billion price tag — and a smaller number of very influential people are newly skeptical about letting Big Tech get bigger…”

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