Hello, I’m Benjamin Wagner, this is my blog and today I ponder a very important deal that could change the face of gaming…
Who knows how this could play out but I am at least very interested in the news that was released today that Microsoft, peddlers of the Xbox and one of the largest companies in the world is buying the much-maligned (rightfully so) Activision-Blizzard for an eye-watering $69.7 billion. Activision-Blizzard, or rather, the people who have run and worked for the company has engaged in some truly deplorable acts and have rightfully been called out on this. Sexism, heck, any type of discrimination does not belong anywhere in this world, let alone the gaming industry. These odious men managed to create a culture of unbreakable glass ceilings and unnecessary cruelty that has rightfully left the company in a bad way. CEO Bobby Kotick deserves everything he is getting and should be held accountable for the way he has led this company. And I hope that this acquisition will pave the road forward as a bright one. It seems as if the deal won’t go through until 2023 and the company will be relatively independent until then (but we won’t know how independent it truly is until time passes, I guess). Phil Spencer has proven to be a safe man to have at the helm and I hope that he can continue to lead Microsoft and Xbox into a new era. Although it might be more difficult than it appears from the outside.
And whilst the most exciting change here is the potential culture change that Microsoft could bring, I would be lying if I said that the franchises that the company holds don’t excite me. Sure, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo are massive names in their own right but with Microsoft in charge of the company and their IP’s, smaller names like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot and Guitar Hero now belong to the big M. The chance for a more diverse output that doesn’t just involve yearly Call of Duty games is a tantalising one and, considering the size of Microsoft’s gaming division now, I am cautiously optimistic on what this could hold going forward.
However, I would be wearing blinkers if I looked at only the potential positives here. Who is to say that the cretinous culture that has infected Activision-Blizzard won’t seep its way into the veins of Microsoft? Who is to say that Microsoft won’t do what they did with Bethesda and make the games that have always been multi-platform exclusive to theirs? I would be lying if I said the potential monopolisation of multi-million selling games to one platform is a good thing but it does provide something that Microsoft has struggled for since the Xbox’s inception: exclusive games. Other than Halo and Forza, what has Microsoft had that has enticed the masses? Sure, Blinx, Viva Pinata and other games have impressed the few but, with Activision and Bethesda under you, games to entice the many are truly on the horizon.
Regardless, as a lifelong Sony and Nintendo fan that has never owned an Xbox and only recently got into PC gaming, I find this situation fascinating and can’t wait to see it develop further. It would be interesting to see Nintendo buy a studio or two soon but I think we have more chance of me becoming a vegan. If you have any thoughts, leave a comment and let me know how wrong/stupid/ naive I am below.
I’ve been Benjamin Wagner and I endorse this message.