BY JOHNNY GARCIA
Microsoft and Sony have both made major acquisitions to popular video game developers Activision Blizzard and Bungie in January in order to expand their businesses and grow their brand.
Dr. Jeannie Jo, a Business and Marketing Professor at Cypress was not shocked by the news.
“We see a lot of different consolidations, not just in gaming,” said Jo.
She points to the merging of T-Mobile and Sprint as another example of two large companies becoming one.
“It is one of the natures of the business landscape.”
On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced its plan to obtain Activision Blizzard (known for series such as Call Of Duty and World Of Warcraft) in a 68.7 billion dollar buyout, the largest tech deal in the history of the United States.
Later in the month on January 31st, Sony announced that it was purchasing long-time Microsoft-supported studio Bungie (known for their games Destiny and most notably, the Xbox-exclusive series Halo) for 3.6 billion dollars.
When asked if Jo could see more buyouts happening between the two, she says she would expect it.
“The gaming industry is growing immensely, and investors are noticing,”
The Activision Blizzard deal would put Microsoft as the third-largest video game company in the world in terms of revenue, only behind Sony and Tencent.
Jo would not be surprised if more than just Microsoft and Sony start buying companies in the industry soon.
“We may see companies like Apple and Amazon start buying studios.”
She sees the current acquisitions as beneficial for the consumer while the gaming market grows, at least until the market matures.
“When the market matures, the only way to grow your market share is to take the customers away from your competitors,” said Jo.
Eduardo Serrano, a Cypress student and long-time Playstation supporter is okay with what is happening on both sides.
“We grew up during the console wars between Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Playstation), and Nintendo (Gamecube/Wii/Switch). We knew about exclusives then and know about them now, and it’s how we determine which consoles that we want to buy.”
He went on to say that he’s okay with franchises becoming exclusive.
“It provides an incentive for consumers to continue with their system of choice,” said Serrano.
Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming released an official statement about the buyout.
“The creative teams have their best work in front of them. Together, [Microsoft and Activision Blizzard] will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want,” said Spencer.
Microsoft has also confirmed that they are planning to release Activision Blizzard games under their Game Pass service, which allows gamers to have access to any game in its library for a small monthly fee. Games under the Activision Blizzard umbrella include Call Of Duty, Candy Crush, and former Sony-exclusive franchises Spyro and Crash Bandicoot.
Eduardo Serrano, though a fan of some Activision Blizzard games, would not switch to Microsoft consoles in order to play them, and intends to continue to only buy Sony consoles.
“I would not buy a new console for just a few games,” said Serrano.
Sony’s purchase of Bungie came out just two weeks after Microsoft’s announcement, though according to a spokesperson for Sony, it was a pure coincidence timing-wise.
Pete Parsons, the CEO of Bungie wrote a press release on Bungie’s website about their new home at Sony.
“[Bungie] has found a partner who unconditionally supports us and wants to accelerate our vision to create generation-spanning entertainment [in Sony].”
With both of these deals, fans show concern for whether or not Activision Blizzard and Bungie games would become exclusive to their new parent companies on the Xbox and Playstation respectively. However, both companies assured that there were no current plans for this.
Eduardo Serrano does not believe their promises of exclusivity will remain entirely true.
“Games like Call of Duty are likely safe, but smaller titles that are not as mainstream are a lot less certain,” said Serrano.
Phil Spencer confirmed via Twitter that at the very least Call Of Duty would be staying multi-platform and there are no current plans to change that.
It is worth noting that Microsoft had previously absorbed video game studio Bethesda, and while they have released multi-platform games since then, its upcoming game Starfield will be exclusive to Microsoft.
Both Bungie and Sony have confirmed in their press statements that Bungie would remain a multi-platform studio and publisher, and there are no current plans to make any future games exclusive.