After the Activision-Blizzard takeover, which franchises does Microsoft own for the Xbox brand?

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News business After the Activision-Blizzard takeover, which franchises does Microsoft own for the Xbox brand?

The year 2022 has just begun, and yet an unprecedented earthquake has just shaken the entire video game industry. Microsoft has offered nothing less than Activision-Blizzard for the trifle of 68.7 billion dollars. After Bethesda Softworks, it is the turn of another historic player to fall into the hands of the American firm and with it many IPs. Following this takeover, which major franchises does Microsoft now own? Will they eventually become exclusives? The editorial staff of JV attempts to answer these thorny questions.

Summary

  • Les Xbox Game Studios
  • Bethesda Softworks, a North American mainstay
  • Activision-Blizzard, Top 1 Western 3rd Party
  • Any exclusives to expect?

Les Xbox Game Studios

Microsoft did not wait until 2022 to implement its expansion strategy in the video game market. In 1994, the Redmond firm founded Microsoft Game Studios which would become Xbox Game Studios a few years later. This entity is growing more and more, develops its own games, and integrates the many buyouts made by the American multinational. Everything accelerated in 2018 with the acquisition of renowned studios including Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Obsidian Entertainment as well as the creation of The Initiative whose objective is to imagine the triple A of tomorrow.

In the meantime, the now Xbox Game Studios are not idle, and are launching numerous licenses on the market which are making the heyday of machines hit with X from Xbox, but also PCs. We find in the Microsoft portfolio historical IPs of the brand such as Age of Empires, Fable, Flight Simulator, Force, Gears (of War), Halo, Sea of Thieves or State of Decay. Added to this list are all those acquired by the gaming division, including Hellblade, Minecraft, Perfect Dark, Psychonauts, The Outer Worlds, etc…not to mention some sagas on hiatus (Conker, Lost Odyssey). The list is endless…or almost.

It’s here to buy the GamePass!

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II Trailer


Bethesda Softworks, a North American mainstay

The company founded by Bill Gates continues its momentum during 2019-2020, then strikes hard in March 2021 by getting its hands on ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for 7.5 billion dollars. The calculation is then very simple. The acquisition of the American company gives Microsoft the keys to its home market in terms of video game entertainment. Indeed, Bethesda franchises are among the most popular in North America, but also in the West at large.

Microsoft was not mistaken in monopolizing the production forces as well as the sagas of this historic publisher whose creation dates back to 1986. In terms of studios, the Rockville-based company displays several prominent specimens including Arkane Studios, id Software, MachineGames, Roundhouse Studios, Tango Gameworks – which is none other than the structure set up by Shinji Mikami (Dino Crisis, Resident Evil) – and finally the internal teams of Bethesda Game Studios and ZeniMax Online Studios .

This talent pool is working on some of the emblematic franchises, sagas that have existed for more than 20 years and which have each marked the young history of video games in their own way. Bethesda Softworks, in terms of IPs, does not have to be ashamed of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. North American society can count in its ranks on Dishonored, Doom, Fallout, Prey, Quake, The Elder Scrolls, The Evil Within and Wolfenstein to attract players to which must be added the projects Ghostwire Tokyo, Redfall and especially Starfield.

Ghostwire Tokyo Trailer


Activision-Blizzard, Top 1 Western 3rd Party

Activision-Blizzard was born in 2007 from the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games, formerly the majority shareholder of Blizzard Entertainment. 6 years later, Vivendi sells the majority of its shares thus making Activision-Blizzard an independent company headed by Robert “Bobby” Kotick. Despite the court cases that have shaken the publisher for several months, Microsoft sets its sights on it. This acquisition thus allows the Redmond company to become one of the main players in the market for first-person shooters and massively multiplayer online games.

Two sagas can justify the pharaonic sum disbursed, which as a reminder is 68.7 billion dollars. Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, respectively king of the FPS and emperor of the MMO, alone represent millions of players and therefore a financial windfall that leaves other publishers dreaming. However, his activity cannot decently be reduced to CoD and WoW. Activision-Blizzard is also Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch and StarCraft as well as Guitar Hero, Skylanders and to finish Candy Crush. The last mentioned can boast of having earned more than a billion dollars in 2020 alone.

Diablo 4 trailer


Any exclusives to expect?

Rest assured, Sony players, the games already announced for PlayStation 4 and/or PlayStation 5 will be released on them once development is complete. Microsoft has always respected the deals previously signed by its new acquisitions. Thereby, Deathloop edited by Bethesda was released exclusively on PS5 as well as on PC, and the same will be true for Ghostwire Tokyo, the horrific FPS developed by Tango Gameworks.

Important information is also to be taken into account. The acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft will not be effective until June 2023. Until then, the publisher will continue its activities without being impacted by the takeover. Thereby, the first consequences of such an upheaval in the video game industry should not be felt by gamers for 18 months. After that period, the Activision and Blizzard Entertainment franchises will be owned by Microsoft. According to Phil Spencer, the American giant will not refrain from releasing certain Bestheda licenses on competition consoles, but this will be done on a case-by-case basis, and it should be the same for those of Activision-Blizzard post summer. 2023.

It would be surprising to see Call of Duty disappear from PlayStation 4 and then PlayStation 5. Some sagas are destined to be universally accessible regardless of the game medium, whether on PC, consoles and even on mobiles. Several anonymous statements point in this direction. Other licenses on the contrary are a considerable selling point and could tip the scales in favor of Microsoft in the years to come, especially if Activision-Blizzard games integrate the Xbox Game Pass “day one” in the near future. .

Call of Duty: Vanguard Trailer


A propos des Xbox Series X/S

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News business After the Activision-Blizzard takeover, which franchises does Microsoft own for the Xbox brand? Published on 01/22/2022 at 09:15 The year 2022 has just begun, and yet an unprecedented earthquake has just shaken the entire video game industry. Microsoft has offered nothing less than Activision-Blizzard for the trifle of 68.7 billion dollars. After Bethesda…

News business After the Activision-Blizzard takeover, which franchises does Microsoft own for the Xbox brand? Published on 01/22/2022 at 09:15 The year 2022 has just begun, and yet an unprecedented earthquake has just shaken the entire video game industry. Microsoft has offered nothing less than Activision-Blizzard for the trifle of 68.7 billion dollars. After Bethesda…

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