Microsoft finally managed to close its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard after nearly twenty-one months of regulatory hurdles. The US Federal Trade Commission still plans to continue the internal lawsuit in a desperate bid to undo the merger, but its chances are slim at this point.
In a recent interview with Axel Springer (via MSN.com), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about the merger for the first time after its successful completion. Nadella said Microsoft would double down on being a game producer and a publisher following the acquisition, suggesting that even more investments after the $68.7 billion expense may be on the way.
It is, but we’re really excited about it. For us, there are a few things that go all the way back for us as a company. Gaming is one, right? When I think about Microsoft, I think of perhaps developer tools, proprietary software, and gaming. Those are three things that we’ve done from the very beginning. And so, to us, gaming is the one place where we think we have a real contribution to make in consumer markets. If I look at it, the amount of time people allocate to gaming is going up and Gen Z is going to do more of that. The way games are made, the way the games are delivered, is changing radically. Whether it’s mobile, or consoles, or PCs, or even the cloud. So, we’re looking forward to really doubling down both as a game producer and a publisher. Now we’ll be one of the largest game publishers and also as a company that’s building platforms for it.
Nadella was instrumental in the rise of gaming within Microsoft. It was thanks to him that head of Xbox Phil Spencer was brought on Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team in September 2017. About a month later, Nadella openly said the company’s goal was to create a Netflix for games subscription service with Game Pass.
In 2018, when Microsoft started its acquisition spree with Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, Obsidian, and inXile, Sadella said the company would invest aggressively in gaming content. That was just the beginning, as Microsoft would acquire Double Fine Productions in 2019, ZeniMax Media in 2021 for $7.5 billion, and now Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Given the new statement shared by the Microsoft CEO, more investments may be on the way.