The Activision Blizzard deal is great for Microsoft, but is it great for gaming?

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Opinion: Whichever way y’all look at it, Microsoft’due south $70 billion
purchase of Activision Blizzard is a seismic one.

From Microsoft’southward perspective, it’s an undoubtedly a neat bargain. It brings the likes of Overwatch, Telephone call of Duty, and Earth of Warcraft under the Xbox Studios imprint, and in the long-term information technology’s going to add together a lot of fuel to the Game Pass fire.

Every bit a motility, information technology’s not altogether surprising having glanced at Microsoft’s history in the gaming industry, particularly when they enquired to buy Nintendo back in 1999. Acquisition is in their DNA and you may wonder, what with their sizeable state of war chest, why information technology’s taken them so long to loosen the purse strings.

Merely once the excitement and surprise has subsided, is this deal a expert one for gaming? Consolidation and monopolisation have never been skillful bedfellows – there take been lots of mergers that made sense at the fourth dimension and savage autonomously later. And the more I think about this bargain, the less convinced I am about its claim.

I oasis’t played an Activision Blizzard game in years – and this bargain isn’t probable to change that. If (when) they go on to Game Pass, another Call of Duty is non what will make me sign up.

Most of my gaming is washed on the PlayStation and the reason why is because Sony’south line-up is more various, and for my 2 cents, the more interesting. Halo and Forza are fun but they’ve get very familiar with their frequent releases.

Microsoft’s lack of new, original IP and focus on existing franchises makes the Bethesda and Activision Blizzard deals a good fit, only the fearfulness is more Elderberry Scrolls, Fallout, and
fifty-fifty more
Telephone call of Duty rather than new IP. At the moment Game Pass strikes a prissy rest between popular titles and discovery, only I have a friend who uses Game Pass and since Skyrim came onto the service (a game that is at present eleven years old) they’re correct back into that.

Game Pass is like comfort nutrient, and a significant number of gamers volition enjoy being able to play these games on-demand. But new experiences engage customers and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will pump its state of war chest into that or focus on the heavy hitters. Information technology certainly needs to make back that $77bn somehow.

Game Pass is here to stay, merely I tin can’t see it staying as affordable every bit information technology currently is. Like the Boob tube streaming market, there are a growing number of players after a similar piece of the pie, and I tin can merely see subscriptions ascension and annoyance of having to pay for several subscriptions growing.

It’d be smart if Microsoft stuck to launching these titles on other consoles – likely with some sort of timed exclusivity – as they’ll be leaving plenty of coin on the tabular array if they didn’t. Subscriptions will eventually plateau, similar they have with Netflix and Disney+, and what then volition Microsoft exercise? And what will happen when Microsoft releases a game on disc, but people say “I’ll await for information technology to come on Game Pass”? That tin can’t be great for the bottom line, and with subscription models in general, I can meet the line between value, content, and pricing condign fuzzier.

It’s weird how we’re catastrophe up in a like identify to when the Xbox One launched. Information technology arrived with its internet-simply ambitions and was summarily slapped down. Game Pass exudes a gaming focus where the multi-media hub of the Xbox 1’south approach didn’t, but the Xbox Series Ten is effectively what the Xbox One was conceived to be.

Gamers are tied into that internet-only experience and all the market needed was a ‘Netflix for gaming’ deal to bring it to fruition. The times they are a-changin’, only it would seem that the more things, the more than they stay the same, as well.

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