Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Microsoft Finalizes Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Dan Milmo (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Microsoft has completed its $69bn (£57bn) deal to buy Activision Blizzard, the maker of games including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, after the UK’s competition watchdog cleared the acquisition.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had moved to block the deal in April, citing concerns that Microsoft – the maker of the Xbox gaming console – would dominate the nascent cloud gaming market.

Last month, however, the watchdog said a revised deal that included selling cloud gaming rights outside Europe to Activision’s French rival Ubisoft had substantially addressed its concerns, indicating the tie-up would be approved.

Andrew Plotkin (Hacker News):

The peculiar side effect in my corner of the world is that Microsoft now owns the dusty remains of Infocom. Microsoft owns all the classic Infocom games (except maybe Hitchhiker and Shogun). They own the rights to sell the games. They own the rights to make more Zork spinoffs.

Of course, from a corporate point of view, this means exactly nothing. Activision has kept a few Infocom games up on GOG (EDIT: and Steam). For a while they sold them for iOS, but that was too much work so they stopped. In 2009 they flirted with a casual Zork tie-in that went nowhere. None of this rates even a footnote in the Microsoft acquisition prospectus, which I imagine is six hundred pages of Candy Crush stats with an appendix mentioning WoW and CoD as “also nice to have”.


For twenty years, Infocom properties have existed in a foggy hinterland of “Well, Activision owns it, but… you know. You can find the stuff online.” I don’t just mean the games! It’s also the manuals, the advertisements, the packaging, all the ephemera. It’s all available, but… you know. Illegally. […] Anyhow. I say it is time to end this liminality and bring all this work into the legal daylight.


Update (2024-01-30): Tom Warren (via Hacker News):

Microsoft is laying off 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox this week. While Microsoft is primarily laying off roles at Activision Blizzard, some Xbox and ZeniMax employees will also be impacted by the cuts.

The cuts work out to roughly 8 percent of the overall Microsoft Gaming division that stands at around 22,000 employees in total.


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