San Francisco, Jan 18 (IANS): In the biggest deal ever in the world of gaming, Microsoft on Tuesday announced to acquire Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular games like Call of Duty (CoD) and Warcraft, for a whopping $68.7 billion.
When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.
The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming.
The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.
"We're investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all, said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft.
"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," he added.
This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.
Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard.
Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.
"For more than 30 years, our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games," said Kotick.
"The combination of Activision Blizzard's world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft's technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry," he added.
Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95 per cent of all players globally enjoying games on mobile.
The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft's Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers.
With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry, said Microsoft.
Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.
The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023.