Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard is the first step in the next evolution of the video game

Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard is the first step in the next evolution of the video game

"What the hell is going to happen now?" This is the question that probably, in the aftermath of the news of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, resonates in the minds of fans and professionals in the sector, stunned by an announcement whose effects are currently unfathomable and unpredictable. Such is the scope of the operation that all the tools on which we have relied so far to analyze a sector that is always dynamic, but also quite legible, suddenly turn out to be outdated.

We are not simply faced with the acquisition of a colossus by another giant, but to the largest investment in the history of the industry: the 70 billion dollars that the Redmond house will pay out are not only an unthinkable figure even for a sector that has now consolidated as the most economically relevant among those related to entertainment; are, above all, a very long-term investment that highlights a precise and clear declaration of intent: that of guiding the next evolution of the videogame medium.

How will it happen, through which phases, how this will impact on users, is it all to be discovered, and it would really take the aid of a crystal ball to launch into predictions of some kind. What is certain, at present, is that Microsoft has further increased its firepower and widened the potential variety of its offer, but probably with much more in mind, much bigger.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_gamedivision_d_mh2"); } The acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which a few months ago already seemed something unusual but which, numbers in hand, was outclassed by that of Activision Blizzard (7.5 billion against 68.7, almost ten times as much). very easy to read. Microsoft welcomed development teams with a very valid curriculum in the Xbox division (Bethesda, id Software, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks and company) and acquired historical intellectual properties (The Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Wolfenstein) with the aim of increasing its production output, ensure weight exclusives and increase the appeal of the Game Pass service.

It is important to underline that the vast majority of the IPs insured by the company with this acquisition were substantially similar, in terms of gaming experience and business model to them tied: mainly single player productions, traditional monetization, no game as a service. Overall, therefore, it was an operation linked to a rather traditional concept of gaming.

The impression is that with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard Microsoft has decided to climb a further step, to expand its prospects and to embark on something really different. It is certainly not to ensure the IPs of Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Sekiro and the like that in Redmond have decided to open the wallet. Those are the welcome bonuses of the operation, the extra that certainly doesn't hurt, but which is obviously not its focus.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh3_1"). Is (": visible ")) {console.log (" Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_gamedivision_d_mh3 "); } Of course, when they appear on Game Pass or when new exclusive episodes are announced (because yes, these are extremely likely they will not arrive on platforms other than PC or Xbox), many will be happy, but in fact they are marginal in the ratio of the everything.

The speech becomes complex thinking about Blizzard and its IPs. Finding yourself a poker made up of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo and Overwatch does not happen even in the best games, we are talking about fundamental pieces of video game history. There is, however, a lot to weigh.

Irvine's development team has always been one of the few to work with the philosophy of "the game comes out when it's ready", always taking their time, and since the early 2000s it has further slowed its production, because World of Warcraft first and Overwatch then (and, to a much lesser extent, Hearthstone) have taken almost all the attention.

Sure, we also had Diablo III, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Hearthstone, but the first two have now been released twelve and ten years ago respectively. On the horizon are Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, that's true, but how far away is that horizon? Should I give an answer, 2023 submitted, and most likely not exclusive.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh4_1"). Is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_gamedivision_d_mh4_1 slot id: th_gamedivision_d_mh4 "); } Call of Duty Warzone Having Blizzard, however, also means having, its millions of accounts, its servers, the apps connected to it, and this is the perfect introduction to get to one of the two main reasons why probably the acquisition was decided, or the expansion of the multiplayer experience. Not so much in playful terms, as in terms of monetization, and with a potential long-term goal: the metaverse. That the Xbox division lacks the related know-how is evident, just take a look at the Halo Infinite multiplayer model, widely criticized by gamers (and 343 Industries is still looking for an expert, since last October).

The impression is that Microsoft wants to start from Call of Duty: Warzone, because it is clear that this could be the basis, to develop a platform that is not only extremely profitable, but that can constantly update itself in parallel with a further cultural evolution and demographic of the videogame medium. Fortnite to the nth degree, just to get an idea. It is a bet that to be realized, however, needs a necessary step, that is a further removal of the entry barriers.

It is therefore not for Candy Crush that Microsoft needs King, and we come to the second and last main reason acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which also owns the mobile company. Of course, the billion dollars that the game generates annually will not be displeased, but, even here, it is above all for the know-how, to be able to find a way to combine the attractiveness, the expressive power, the depth of traditional gaming with the accessibility, pervasiveness and very high profitability of the mobile one. Which is something that nobody has succeeded yet, precisely because we are dealing with diametrically opposed worlds.

It is unlikely, therefore, that we will see the results of this acquisition in the short and medium term, which at least as regards the productions videogames at present seems even less important than that of ZeniMax Media, because we know Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 will be Xbox exclusives, while Overwatch 2, Diablo IV or the next Call of Duty will hardly be (and this, at least for now. , should reassure those who fear a monopoly on the part of the Redmond giant from now on).

But for the future, for the next evolution of the medium, the game has obviously already begun, and Microsoft, which his ideas about it have been explicit for some time, he is already taking a huge advantage.

Xbox Game Pass is one of the pillars of Microsoft's strategy. On Amazon Italia Amazon Italia you can purchase the quarterly subscription.

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