As of today, October 13, 2023, Microsoft has officially completed its nearly $70 billion acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard. Though the two sides reportedly agreed to an acquisition way back in January 2022, the deal has been modified, scrutinized, and debated by a number of regulatory bodies (not to mention other gamers) since then. Following an exhaustive process that required the Microsoft team to make quite a few concessions, the deal is finally complete.
There is so much to say about this deal, and we hope to be able to share much of that information with you in the coming days and weeks. However, you’re not alone if the first question that popped into your mind is “What games and franchises do Microsoft and Xbox now control as part of the Activision Blizzard deal?
The full answer to that question is long and complicated. As noted above, there are a number of provisions that have already impacted the specifics of this deal, and there is also no way to know exactly what will happen next. Layoffs, closures, sales, and similar business maneuvers will almost certainly impact the final contents of Xbox’s expanded war chest. Furthermore, a series of creative and business decisions will likely impact what exactly happens to many of the games, franchises, and studios included in this deal. Some will become exclusive to Xbox, some will still be available to all, and many will almost certainly come to Game Pass.
That being said, we at least know enough about this deal at this moment to give you an idea of why this is the biggest acquisition in gaming history in terms of both the money and time that went into it and what Microsoft actually bought at the end of the day.
Every Activision Blizzard Studio Now Owned By Microsoft
Here are the major studios and publishers that Microsoft has acquired as part of this deal:
- Blizzard Entertainment
- Infinity Ward
- Sledgehammer Games
- High Moon Studios
- Digital Legends Entertainment
- Raven Software
- Solid Slate Studios
- Toys For Bob
- Digital Legends Entertainment
As with all of the other parts of this deal, we will update that list as needed as additional information becomes available.
If you expected to see some more notable names in that group, you’re not alone. However, you have to remember that Activision has acquired, shuttered, and restructured a large number of studios over the years. Those studios include notable names like Neversoft, Vicarious Visions, Bizarre Creations, and RedOctane. That’s why the studios above largely focus on notable major franchises like the Blizzard games, the King mobile titles, and, of course, the Call of Duty franchise.
Through all of those maneuvers, though, Activision Blizzard has retained the rights to a number of properties over the years. It’s those properties that make this deal as interesting and impactful as it is.
Every Activision Blizzard Game and Franchise Now Owned By Microsoft
Though an exhaustive list of games that Microsoft now controls as part of the Activision Blizzard acquisition will likely not be available until the deal moves forward a bit (and is certain to change during that time), here is a list of the most notable properties included in the initial acquisition:
- Bubble Witch Saga
- Call of Duty
- Candy Crush
- Crash Bandicoot
- DJ Hero
- Empire Earth
- Farm Heroes Saga
- Gabriel Knight
- Geometry Wars
- Guitar Hero
- Interstate 76
- King’s Quest
- The Lost Vikings
- Police Quest
- Rock N’ Roll Racing
- Soldier of Fortune
- Space Quest
- Spyro the Dragon
- The Lost Vikings
- Tony Hawk
- True Crime
Now, that list is obviously much more interesting. In terms of revenue, the most notable names from that group would have to be Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft (as well as some of the other ongoing Blizzard properties). Indeed, the acquisition and future of Call of Duty has received more scrutiny than the rest of the games included in this deal combined.
Make no mistake that this deal wouldn’t have been nearly as big as it is if it wasn’t for the presence of those major console/PC franchises and those incredibly lucrative mobile titles. This deal will impact a number of future Xbox/Microsoft ventures (cloud gaming, mobile gaming, Game Pass, and more), and those major franchises will likely lead the way all along the way.
Having said that, don’t overlook the combined value of those smaller titles. Activision may have not always done right by names like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Pitfall, Geometry Wars, Tenchu, and Guitar Hero over the years, but the future of those franchises is no longer entirely up to them. Not only does that mean that many of the legacy games in those series might pop up on Game Pass (the most likely outcome), but several of them might actually receive the new and worthwhile installments that they’ve been denied for too long. There have already been talks about a Guitar Hero revival (albeit under some worrying conditions).
So while Microsoft clearly didn’t make this deal so that they could get their hands on Geometry Wars again (though I certainly would have), the long-term value of this acquisition will likely be measured by both their ability to keep the money machine churning and their ability to turn some of those dormant franchises into big name players once more.