With Microsoft’s recent deal for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars, the gaming landscape is about to change forever. In recent years, Microsoft and The Xbox have been falling behind in the gaming industry. Their chronic lack of good quality products has caused lots of Xbox gamers to move to other platforms. Microsoft has barely held on thanks to the introduction of GamePass in 2017. They have been attempting to get back into the game by acquiring big-name franchises and their developers. A great example is when they acquired the immensely popular The Elder Scrolls series when they purchased Zenimax Bethesda for 7.5 billion dollars last year. By purchasing Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will own over 34 development studios and more than a dozen very successful franchises.
Currently, Sony and Playstation are creating some of, if not the best, single-player story-driven games in recent years. Nintendo is definitely in charge of the family gaming market, the Nintendo Switch and its games being perfect for children. If Microsoft can corner the currently open online multiplayer gaming market, they could skyrocket themselves up to and maybe even surpass their former glory. By acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will own Call Of Duty, arguably the biggest name in online gaming, rivaled only by Halo or Fortnite, the former being one that Microsoft already owns.
This could evolve into a “Big 3” situation, where all games will fit into one of 3 categories, Online Multiplayer, Single Player story-driven, and family games. Those types of games will be developed/published by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo respectively. The quality of the games produced by the 3 companies would skyrocket as they attempt to outdo one another with new ideas and innovations. The consumers get better games and the companies make more money, win-win for everyone right?
Small companies and individual developers will suffer. Those smaller companies simply won’t be able to compete in that kind of market. They either go out of business or get bought by one of the bigger corporations. Small companies and indie developers are essential in keeping the industry fresh with new ideas. Indie developers aren’t restricted the same way large corporations are. Companies like Microsoft have to make games quickly, and those games have to appeal to consumers. They can’t take risks with new ideas like indie developers can. A fantastic example is the humble beginnings of Minecraft. The game started out as a free demo developed by one man. We all know what happened next. Minecraft’s popularity exploded beyond what anyone thought possible and helped shape the gaming industry. Minecraft revolutionized the open-world sandbox genre. A game like Minecraft would never have survived if the industry was being strangled by monopoly.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the deal before it goes all the way through. They are trying to determine whether or not the deal is a monopolistic move. If the deal gets cut off, then Microsoft loses out on this massive opportunity and the gaming landscape remains relatively unchanged.
The gaming industry is on the cusp of something huge, and all of it rides on whether or not Microsoft is able to close this deal. The Activision-Blizzard Deal is expected to close sometime in 2023. If the deal goes through, then Microsoft will change gaming as we know it, forever. In the meantime, we all have to wait with bated breaths until that day comes.