It’s now obvious Xbox has no idea what to do with Activision Blizzard – Reader’s

It's now obvious Xbox has no idea what to do with Activision Blizzard - Reader's

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Why did Xbox buy them? (Picture: Activision Blizzard)

A reader questions why Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard and suggests that if there was a clear idea at the start, it’s become confused.

I don’t think Microsoft has any idea what to do with Activision Blizzard. It paid $69 billion for the biggest third party publisher in the West and so far it’s not announced any plans for it, that the company wouldn’t have done anyway, and the first game to go on Game Pass won’t be until March.

I would imagine that Game Pass was one of the main reasons for wanting to buy them, at first, but in the time it’s taken for the deal to go through it’s become obvious that Game Pass, and subscription services in general, are not the silver bullet that Xbox imagined. In fact, it could seriously eat into the money they make from selling Activision Blizzard’s games the normal way.

The nature of the acquisition meant it was impossible to make Call Of Duty multiformat, which was probably the original idea, and now that wouldn’t be seen as a good idea either, or at least not in line with their current plans. So what exactly was the point of buying them and spending that colossal amount of money?

The most obvious thing they’ve gained from the acquisition is a profitable business, but unless they do something new with it, it’s just an asset – an investment. They might as well have invested the same amount of money in real estate for all the difference it would’ve made to the Xbox business.

They do now own a bunch of talented developers, but there’s so far been no indication of Microsoft using them for anything other than what they would’ve been doing anyway. Before the acquisition, Xbox was hinting at not necessarily having a Call Of Duty every year and letting the developers work on other franchises – maybe even bringing back a few old ones.

Now that the acquisition has actually happened all that seems to have gone out the window and we’ve already had the next four years’ worth of Call Of Duty games leaked. Activision Blizzard has a new owner now but beyond that nothing else has changed and there’s no hint that it ever will.

Just to remind you, Activision Blizzard cost Microsoft $69 billion. To put that in perspective, that’s more than the GDP of over half the countries in the world, including Costa Rica, Serbia, Jordan, and Iceland.

I’m sure we’ve all bought things without properly thinking about whether we really need them or not (I’m having grave doubts about my Xbox Series S) but this is ridiculous. In fact, the more I got into writing this, the more I tried to find an explanation from Microsoft as to why they actually did it – even in the early days before things started to go sideways.

And there isn’t really any proper explanation. There’s lots of that nonsense about bringing Call Of Duty to millions more people, but that was just something they said to investigators so they’d be allowed to do it. They never really said why they wanted to.

I think the simple answer is they did it for the same reason a lot of corporations do things: because they could and because it made their execs feel big and powerful to throw around that sort of money.

It’s not going to help their Xbox business in the slightest, although it will eventually help them transition away from hardware and into being purely a software publisher. That wasn’t on the cards when they originally spent all that money, but after this next generation of consoles goes the same way as all their other ones maybe they’ll finally feel like buying Activision Blizzard was a good idea after all.

By reader Taylor Moon

Xbox is now the biggest publisher in the West (Picture: Microsoft)

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