On Jan. 18, 2022, Microsoft surprised the gaming universe by announcing it would acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, is still CEO but may leave after the deal is done. If that’s the case, talk among gaming industry experts is that Phil Spencer, the current head of Microsoft’s gaming division, will be named Kotick’s replacement.
If Kotick is on the way out, his departure will not be immediate. The deal is expected to be finalized by the summer of 2023 at the very latest. “Transactions like these can take a long time to complete,” explains Kotick. According to the company, the process is expected to end during Microsoft’s 2023 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2023. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported that Bobby Kotick is expected to step down once Microsoft’s acquisition is completed.
Bobby Kotick’s Future at Activision Blizzard
Kotick has voiced his interest in staying on in some capacity. He told VentureBeat that having Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer as the new head would be “an easy thing to do.” According to Microsoft, both companies will continue to operate independently until the deal is finalized, but afterward, all Blizzard Activision businesses will report to Spencer. Kotick said, “Phil and I have a great relationship, and the company has a great relationship.”
According to reports, Kotick could receive at least $390 million once the deal is finalized. Most of that money would come from the 3.95 million company shares he possesses.
What Microsoft Gets for $68.7 Billion
The Microsoft takeover includes these development teams: Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch.
Microsoft will also own Activison’s successful gaming franchises, including World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch, StarCraft, Candy Crush, and Diablo. When news of the acquisition broke, many in the industry wondered if this would mean the Activision Blizzard games would be made available for different platforms, like PlayStation. According to Spencer, “We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform.”
Empowering Activision Employees
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer aims to put all the employees at ease during the acquisition. “We will be having conversations about what empowers them to do their best work, which, as you can imagine in a creative industry, is the most important thing for us,” he told The Washington Post.
During that interview, Spencer discussed the benefits of adding video games to Microsoft. “I think we do have a unique point of view, which is not about how everything has to run on a single device or platform,” said Spencer. “That’s been the real turning point for us: looking at gaming as a consumer opportunity that could have a similar impact on Microsoft that some of those other scale consumer businesses do for other big tech competitors. And it’s been great to see the support we’ve had from the company and the board.”