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It has also established a major presence in mobile gaming with the addition of Candy Crush maker King.
“As one team, we’ll learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people,” said Microsoft’s head of gaming, Phil Spencer. “We’ll do this in a culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work, where all people are welcome, and is centered on our ongoing commitment of Gaming for Everyone.
“We are intentional about inclusion in everything we do at Xbox – from our team to the products we make and the stories we tell, to the way our players interact and engage as a wider gaming community.
“Together, we’ll create new worlds and stories, bring your favorite games to more places so more players can join in, and we’ll engage with and delight players in new, innovative ways in the places they love to play including mobile, cloud streaming and more.
“Players have always been at the center of everything we do. And as we grow, we’ll continue to keep players at the heart of it all. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback, build a community where you can be yourself, where developers can do their best work, and continue to make really fun games.
Today is a great day for gamers everywhere. Together with Activision Blizzard, we will deliver on our vision to help people connect and play great games wherever, whenever, and however they want. https://t.co/NIpF6yz2a9
“As promised, we will also continue to make more games available in more places – and that begins now by enabling cloud streaming providers and players to stream Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area, a commitment made to the European Commission.
“Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months. We know you’re excited – and we are too.”
Activision Blizzard said earlier this week that if the deal went through, it expected to start adding its titles to Game Pass in 2024.
It was also confirmed today that Activision Blizzard’s long-serving boss Bobby Kotick will remain as CEO through the end of 2023. He’ll report to Spencer, assisting the Xbox head with the transition process.
“Today is a great day for gamers everywhere,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together with Activision Blizzard, we will deliver on our vision to help people connect and play great games wherever, whenever, and however they want.”
It’s a big day for us. Today, we join Team @Xbox. All of our history and success leading to this moment is because of you – our incredible gaming community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.https://t.co/OjQgIed2nN
— Activision Blizzard (@ATVI_AB) October 13, 2023
Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022. Since then, it has had to fight hard to appease the concerns of some global competition regulators, who argued that the merger could give the combined entity an unfair advantage.
One major sticking point was the suggestion that Microsoft might make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox and PC.
It was also felt that the deal would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the cloud gaming market.
In a bid to address this, the Xbox maker signed a number of long-term game distribution agreements with cloud gaming providers, which helped the deal gain the approval of the European Commission.
Microsoft had to go further to satisfy the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which finally gave the deal the go ahead earlier today.
Its approval was only granted after Microsoft agreed to sell Ubisoft cloud gaming rights outside the European Economic Area for all Activision Blizzard games released over the next 15 years.
Despite emerging victorious from a court battle with the US Federal Trade Commission, which was also seeking to block the acquisition over antitrust concerns but didn’t have the power to so independently, Microsoft is still facing resistance to the deal from the regulator.