Posted on January 18, 2022 by Tooniversal

In case you missed today's bombshell of an announcement, Microsoft announced their intent to acquire Activision Blizzard in a whopping 68.7 billion dollar all-cash deal. Activision Blizzard is known for its extensive (and successful) catalog of games that include World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Call of Duty, & the mobile sensation Candy Crush. Activision Blizzard has also made headlines in the past year for sexual misconduct allegations of male employees toward female employees. So what does this acquisition mean for the staff at Activision Blizzard, the gaming industry, & the gaming community? Let's take a look at each of these.

Accountability & Culture Change for Activision Blizzard 

Once the allegations of misconduct & harassment reached the ears of Microsoft, CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer was quoted as saying that these issues would change how Microsoft did certain things with Activision. With Microsoft gaining a lot of new employees in the deal, Uncle Phil will certainly shake up the staffing of the company, & probably starting at the top. Everyone deserves to feel safe when they go to work each day. No one should worry if today is the day they'll be harassed, mistreated, abused, or a target of some other misconduct. The culture has to change at Activision, & Microsoft will certainly move in to implement it. It starts with knowing the employees & listening to their stories. Having a safe environment to share you concerns in the workplace is crucial, & Microsoft will work to ensure that all employees feel safe in their working environments. This could result in more resignations & terminations as more information is discovered from these serious allegations.

The Gaming Industry Needs to be Safe For Everyone to Work

The eyes of the gaming industry should be on Microsoft for how they handle this situation. The events that have occurred within the walls of Activision are not new to the gaming industry. I think it starts with proper education & zero tolerance within the workplace. It also means training for leaders in the company who will lead by example & allow employees to share their concerns without fear of repercussion. Though this sort of  mindset should translate to all industries, Microsoft moving in with accountability & zero tolerance should echo throughout the gaming industry & promote safety, cooperation, & instilling dignity in their employees.

Gamers Win When They Have More Access to Content

If this huge acquisition does come to fruition, the biggest winners will be the consumers. Sure, Microsoft will certainly see a return on their investment, but the beneficiaries are gamers all over the world. Microsoft has made their business model clear: hardware will not be their primary focus for the future; it's getting their games in the hands of as many people as possible. Of course, you'll be able to buy the latest Xbox console (maybe) in future iterations, but with Microsoft Game Pass & Game Pass Ultimate, it seems that the corporate giant is interested primarily is getting everyone in the game. With Activision Blizzards vast library of mega-successful titles, this means that more people will have an opportunity to play them. You'll be able to play the latest DLC for World of Warcraft on day one of release. Or you can play Overwatch on Game Pass Ultimate on your mobile device with people all over the world. Xbox Game Pass exposes gamers to a multitude of content for an incredible value. 

So with all this excitement around this huge deal going down, will it actually happen? We'll wait & see.  Mergers & acquisitions, especially of this size, tend to take months or years to ink their deals. Then there's the hurdles of getting through the Federal Trade Commission unscathed. The FTC reviews these deals to ensure that a particular company doesn't gain an unfair competitive advantage in their industry. The FTC could veto the deal or have the parties negotiate different terms if the agreement creates a monopoly or stifles competition in the marketplace. This oversight is also a way to protect consumers from harmful corporate practices that could ultimately affect them. The ZeniMax deal certainly took time to iron out, but made it through negotiations & the FTC. You will probably be able to play Starfield on your Android or iPhone Novermber 11th. The deal with Activision is of much greater value, & there's a lot at stake for the industry in many ways, including those mentioned above. With Activision Blizzard getting accountability & more rigorous oversight, the employees win by seeing some redemption in a dark part of the company's history. The gaming industry wins when another company leads by example & seeks justice & safety for their employees. The consumer wins when they have easy & affordable access to their games. And of course, Microsoft wins when they get a fat return on their investment. With more winning than Charlie Sheen & his tiger blood, this deal could be the start of something wonderful for many to enjoy. Let us all hope for the future.