How does Microsoft’s $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard go up against others?
Microsoft announced today that it is buying Activision Blizzard for a whopping 68.7 billion dollarsand in so doing, it quickly rose to the heights of expensive acquisitions. This brings major franchises close to that price point, such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft into the Xbox family. The future of these franchises and whether they will become Xbox console exclusives remains uncertain and is just one of many unanswered questions following today’s news.
What is going to happen Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard who is alleged to have known the company’s years-long history of sexual misconduct and harassment? Which Activision Blizzard franchises can Xbox revive? Which games will remain cross-platform and which will become Xbox exclusives? For now, we all have to wait and see; and it’s highly likely that we won’t get these answers until the transaction closes in fiscal 2023. One thing that is known, however, is price – costing Microsoft $68.7 billion la, the acquisition quickly became one of the largest in history. But how big is it compared to other things in video games? How about things made with other media like movies?
Here’s a quick look at how this acquisition compares to similar purchases:
Microsoft acquires Zenimax – $7.5 billion
Microsoft announced back in September 2020 that it was Acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda. That deal was completed last March, and now, Xbox is the home of series like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored. It will also be the exclusive controller for new games like Starfield, and while the purchase price of Bethesda IPs is quite high, $7.5 billion compared to today’s acquisition.
Take-Two buys Zynga – $13 billion
Just last week, Take-Two became the company behind the most expensive acquisition in video game history. It did so by acquiring Zynga for $12.7 billion. While Zynga may not be the most recognized name in console and PC gaming, it is a giant in the mobile gaming market. Probably second only to King, Xbox currently owns after buying Activision Blizzard today. However, Take-Two’s purchase of Zynga was smart – it made the company a leader in the mobile games market, which is also one of the largest in the world. The $13 billion price tag is historic, but only for a week due to today’s news.
Sony buys Gaikai – $380 million
In 2012, Sony announced that it had purchased Gaikai Inc, a cloud streaming company whose technology now powers Sony’s PlayStation Now service, for $380 million. At the time, that number seemed insanely high, and it’s still a huge number, but as you can see, it’s child’s play compared to the Capital-B Billion acquisitions. However, Sony has got a great cloud streaming service that allows gamers to play older generations of games and download new games with ease (depending on your internet connection). . And it doesn’t cost them billions of dollars, which can be seen as a win in and of itself. Today, Rumor has it that PlayStation Now could be folded into a new Xbox Game Pass-like service codenamed Spartacus, but for now, that’s still just a rumor. Only time will tell how much Sony invested the initial $380 million.
Sony buys Insomniac Games – $229 million
Sony announced in August 2019 that it acquired Insomniac Games, the studio behind franchises like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Ratchet & Clank, and others. In February 2020, it was revealed that Sony pays $229 million to bring Insomniac into the PlayStation family (thanks, CNET) of first party studios. While that number may seem low for a studio that consistently releases great games year after year, it’s rare to bring studios into a larger umbrella. Many individual studio purchases take place without publicly disclosing the costs paid. For example, how much PlayStation pays to get Housemarque or Firesprite is not known, nor is it the price Microsoft paid for Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, or Double Fine Productions.
Disney acquires Lucasfilm – $4 billion
Those are many video game-focused acquisitions that have happened in recent years, but when you expand the scope to include those in the entertainment industry, $68.7 billion doesn’t seem like much. It’s too much of a myth, although it’s still easily one of the biggest expenses to pay. Disney rocked the entertainment scene in 2012 when it announced that it was buying Lucasfilm, the legendary studio behind franchises like Indiana Jones, The Land Before Time and Willow, for 4 billion dollars (thanks USA Today). Oh, and Star Wars too. At the time, $4 billion seemed grand, but when Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hits theaters and crosses the $1 billion mark in box office, that $4 billion seems a lot smaller. For the price Microsoft paid to acquire Activision Blizzard, they could have bought 17 Lucasfilms, or in other words, they could have bought the Star Wars franchise more than a dozen times.
Disney acquires 20th Century Fox – $71.3 billion
It took a long time to find an acquisition in an entertainment vehicle that cost more than Activision Blizzard (remember, bigger deals happened in other industries like Heinz buying Kraft for a price. $100 billion in 2015 or even buying AOL Warner’s Time for $182 billion in 2000) … but we did: In 2020, Disney buys 20th Century Fox for $71.3 billion (thanks, BBC) costs more. Said to be one of the most historic entertainment acquisitions of all time, this brought 20th Century Fox’s iconic bronze-themed everything to its inception in Disney’s garage. There’s been a lot of speculation about how and why this movie came to be, and we’re not sure that it’s not just Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige that can bring the X-Men to the MCU, but one thing. sure: we likely won’t see an expensive acquisition like this for a very long time.
Are there any large-scale acquisitions that we could have overlooked? Which costs seem too low to you and which seem too high? Let us know in the comments below!