In a recent interview with Belgium’s L’Echo (via WCCFTech), Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad Smith offered some fresh details about the progression of the big Activision Blizzard acquisition.
A few months ago, Microsoft confirmed it was attempting to purchase Activision Blizzard, which would give it command of mega franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Candy Crush Saga. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer also confirmed that they would even like to revive some dormant IP, name-checking franchises like Guitar Hero and StarCraft.
“It’s moving fast, at least fast enough for an acquisition of this size,” Smith stated. “We have received requests for information on this subject here in Brussels, but also in London and Washington. We answer questions, we give briefings and we provide the information requested.
“One of our attorneys summed it up nicely by saying, ‘We’re coming to the end of the beginning and now we’re entering the beginning of the middle.’ It’s a long process and we’re still at the stage where we’re answering questions. For us, of course, the sooner it is done the better, but we will respect the process. “
The deal is subject to a large amount of regulatory scrutiny, with lawmakers both in the US and Europe exploring the minutiae of what the deal will entail for staff, and the wider gaming market.
Microsoft President Brad Smith noted that the deal is moving “fast,” as Redmond fields information requests from London, Washington, and Brussels.
Microsoft has previously stated that it hopes for the deal to have closed in the first half of 2023, which could see upcoming unannounced Activision titles go exclusive to Xbox Game Pass platforms such as phones, Windows PCs, and Xbox consoles. Microsoft has, however, confirmed that they intend to keep Call of Duty multi-platform, in similar fashion to Minecraft. It remains to be seen what that could mean for franchises like Diablo and Overwatch, or Blizzard’s upcoming unannounced survival game. As with all things, time will tell.
Microsoft is building up its gaming portfolio to compete with industry behemoth Tencent, as it expands Xbox beyond the home video game console. Microsoft is expected to grow out its cloud gaming platform to TVs and other devices in the coming months, expanding the Xbox Game Pass subscription service with a family plan, while also building new device-agnostic titles that can run across phones, PCs, and consoles seamlessly.