Microsoft is planning to buy Activision Blizzard in a record $68.7 billion all-cash deal. The news just broke today, and folks are freaking out. Some have justified negative reactions to this, given the state of workplace abuses with Activision Blizzard, but some are a little more alarmist. There’s this assumption floating around that Overwatch 2 and future games will be locked to Microsoft platforms like the Windows PC and Xbox.
Since the news just broke this week, it’s way too early to make any hasty guesses about what every game franchise is going to be in the future. But we can glean some insight from the previous acquisitions for Microsoft. It would likely be a pretty disastrous move for Overwatch 2 to be locked onto the Xbox and PC, in some respects. The Esports scene for these games relies on having as much market penetration as possible to build the playerbase. It’s also a bit daft to assume that these big AAA titles won’t aim to just sell as many copies as they can by targeting multiple SKUs.
The company will also likely make use of big-name releases to push Game Pass subscriptions. So maybe Game Pass will be the only digital option for day one downloads, but it just doesn’t make sense to lock out the likes of the PS5 userbase from future big releases.
The idea of abandoning the players on other consoles isn’t consistent with that Microsoft has done with other properties. Their acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft points to what the approach will likely be with their games after the merger. In short, the PC and Xbox will get some focus, but won’t be the only options.
And it’s not all that different from how Activision Blizzard have already been running their online games. Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty and more have all had PC-led audiences for years, with PC ports being locked to Blizzard’s launcher. It’s very much unlikely that a merger between these two mega-corps would lead to a mass abandonment of players on other platforms.
It’s also worth noting that the merger has not been completed yet. it will likely take months of regulatory and investor review for the deal to even be approved. And if it is, which isn’t certain, then the fallout will come down the pipe. So calm down, there’s no bad news yet.