Is Microsoft’s Recent Acquisition Good?


Lots of franchises now find their home at Xbox (Credit: Microsoft, Activision Blizzard)

Brian Dyer, Reporter

Recently, Microsoft has decided to purchase the entirety of Activision Blizzard for an astounding $68.7 billion. While this sudden acquisition can be positive for Microsoft and Xbox as a brand, there are many issues that could arise from this new development.

For instance, the tale of Activision Blizzard may play out similarly to the story of Microsoft’s purchase of Rare. Rare developed groundbreaking titles in the 90s, such as Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye 007, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. All of these games were exclusive to Nintendo’s consoles at the time. But despite all this, Nintendo politely declined to purchase Rare. This led Rare to Microsoft, where they needed some heavy-hitting titles to sell the new Xbox. Microsoft decided to buy Rare for $375 million in 2002. But after the acquisition, Rare wasn’t able to produce a system-seller for the original Xbox. They slowly devolved as a company, eventually developing shovelware-quality games for Xbox, like Kinect Sports. While not everything Rare made after the acquisition was terrible, the company is certainly not the company they once were in the 90s, and it’s uncertain whether or not they will ever return to that state.

While a company like Activision Blizzard would take longer to dissipate due to it’s conglomerate nature, a similar process could still take place over the course of several years if they continue making dicey choices in managing their business. Their history of laying off several hundred employees in the span of a few months (despite having a “record year” in financial results, according to CEO Bobby Kotick), as well as mistreatment of said employees could be detrimental to their future success. But what could Microsoft and Activision Blizzard do to maintain success in the video game industry?

If the company continues to make games in popular franchises (Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Overwatch, etc) that are at least somewhat decent, there is no doubt that they will stay afloat. But if they make bomb after bomb, the ship will sink fairly quickly. Another thing Activision Blizzard could do is put their games on game pass, now that they’re a part of Microsoft/Xbox. The same thing happened with Bethesda and their Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games, so it isn’t out of the ordinary to assume the same will happen.

There is a lot of excitement to see what Microsoft will do with this new acquisition, but I believe that there’s a lot that could go wrong.