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Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard. Woah. .


MidWalian
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14 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

Maybe they’re just envisioning a future akin to other media, where physical is replaced by digital and think their cloud tech is almost at the point where you won’t need a black monolith or whatever the fuck the PS5 is sat near the TV? 

 

Microsoft have been going this way for years. Eventually they won't release a box at all and you'll be able to play your games on the GamePass app or browser on whatever internet connected machine you're on. 

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I think they just want to be in a position where they can say: New CoD - you either get it for free with GP on XBox, or you pay £60-70 to get it on PS5. Either way, we get some cash.

 

That said, I honestly think this is lip service - I fully expect at least some form of exclusive CoD (be that spin off or DLC etc) in 2023.

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18 hours ago, HarMGM said:
 

It's hard to watch that interview in the tweet above and not see this aquisition as simply Microsoft deciding to become the biggest third party publishers in the industry instead of being a platform holder. Gamepass is no doubt incredibly important for them going into the future. But being so explicit in mentioning Minecraft as your blueprint for what comes next has to be a sign of where MS wants to go as a gaming company I'd say.

 

The "platform" is the subscription. Recurring revenues. That's the whole point and they've been very explicit about this for years. I don't think anyone should be surprised.

 

If you can get the cost of entry down to "a stick you plug into your tv" or "an app that's already on your tv or can be downloaded to your phone" - while also having content (hello Google) - you're in a position where you can perhaps scale past that 100m number of users where any individual games console tops out.

Particularly if you're actually making a loss on every game console: why not take that loss and dump it into content?

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Just now, Unofficial Who said:

Here's another way they could go.

 

GamesPass on Sony platforms.

 

Given how many are subbed even a 10-20% cut for Sony would work out well for both parties.

 

It'd break the economic model - even with only a 10% cut. What are Sony supplying that LG, Samsung, The Web can't?

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4 minutes ago, footle said:


No one cares about Australia outside of locations with data centres.

 

I think that's my worry about gaming if it all goes streaming and I'm already having that issue with Apple really preferring me to stream instead of download. Because I want to have a local download so I don't need to deal with drops or dead spots.

 

I guess if everything moves to streaming people like me will just need to embrace retro gaming and "roll our own" gaming systems.

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3 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

Here's another way they could go.

 

GamesPass on Sony platforms.

 

Given how many are subbed even a 10-20% cut for Sony would work out well for both parties.

 

I think this is where we're headed.  Just like how you have the TV streaming services ubiquitous across hardware (Apple TV running on an Amazon Fire stick, Prime Video available on Apple TV, and Netflix and Disney not even needing to sell any actual technology).  All the streaming services saw how it was going and relatively quickly those who were/are producers of hardware scrapped any efforts to block rival services from their platforms.

 

The entry barrier on equipment is higher for games, and there's a more entrenched view on MS and Sony 'protecting' their ecosystems.  But eventually I can see a situation where there are Xboxes and Playstations, but with very little truly exclusive to either, and both will allow subscription to the other's service.  Gamepass on Playstation will feature all MS first & second party, likewise Spartacus on Xbox.  As much as they'll be manufacturers of the equipment used, they'll be far more interested in being multiplatform publishers, who then use the content they produce to flog their own subscriptions.

 

Its already closer than some realise - EA's subscription (whilst rolled into gamepass) is multiplatform already, and only needs the top tier to be made available on console as it is on PC to essentially match the 'day one' feature of gamepass.  Ubisoft have their subscription service that is making its way to Xbox (PS must surely be inevitable) which provides 'day one' for all Ubi games, as well as cloud access via Stadia.

 

If you start to look at Xbox and Playstation as software publishers more than hardware producers, then it becomes obvious that multiplatform is the future.  Exclusivity will remain but be tied to your subscription, not your console.

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21 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

Maybe they’re just envisioning a future akin to other media, where physical is replaced by digital and think their cloud tech is almost at the point where you won’t need a black monolith or whatever the fuck the PS5 is sat near the TV? 


Yes definitely, but the chip shortage will no doubt bring this plan along a lot sooner. Especially on the Sony side who were probably quite happy keeping the old business model if they could have made enough boxes. 

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Official filings have shown that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathway group took a $1b position in Activision in Q4 last year.

 

The position was valued at $975m at year end and would have been worth $1.2b earlier this week - nice return for a few weeks and being so 'fortunate' on their timing. 

 

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I don't think there was any insider trading there, the stock price was deflated because of the sexual harassment news stories, but those typically don't mean the end to companies and it was still financially healthy. Berkshire Hathaway were already up 14% on their position before the deal was announced.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I assume this is completely doomed to fail, but an Actvision Blizzard shareholder is trying to stop the sale.

 

https://deadline.com/2022/02/activision-blizzard-microsoft-shareholder-sec-lawsuit-1234960735/

 

He filed a suit in California alleging Securities Exchange Act violations. He claims the deal only enriches the board of ActiBlizz and is not in the best interests of the company or its stockholders. And that an SEC filing on the deal earlier this month is misleading and incomplete.

 

I suppose it's probably unlikely that this one guy is the one to see the badness in the plan and other lawyered up stockholders missed it all.

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12 minutes ago, JohnC said:

I assume this is completely doomed to fail, but an Actvision Blizzard shareholder is trying to stop the sale.

 

https://deadline.com/2022/02/activision-blizzard-microsoft-shareholder-sec-lawsuit-1234960735/

 

He filed a suit in California alleging Securities Exchange Act violations. He claims the deal only enriches the board of ActiBlizz and is not in the best interests of the company or its stockholders. And that an SEC filing on the deal earlier this month is misleading and incomplete.

 

I suppose it's probably unlikely that this one guy is the one to see the badness in the plan and other lawyered up stockholders missed it all.


Well we know someone got their hands on a PS5 then. 

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On 26/01/2022 at 23:39, El Spatula said:

That's fine then. Enjoy. People are more willing to accept shite because its on gamepass and 'free'. If you can't see a problem with that it's okay.  The Kool Aid is doing it's thing.

I'll explain this one time because I don't want to get into an argument. You drink your Kool Aid, I'll drink mine and that's cool. Kanpai and all that.

 

One major upside from my point of view of the game pass model is that it creates more room for diversity and creative freedom. Let's take Arkane as an example. Huge critical success with their high quality titles, but not enough of a mega money making hit for Bethesda and its shareholders. At some point they could very well have been dissolved or put to work on making Elder Scrolls DLC or whatever. 

 

As a 1st party game pass dev however, they can afford not doing CoD numbers. Critical acclaim becomes a far more important factor and metric because that gets eyes on game pass and that sells subscriptions. They're filling out the available library and raising the overall quality by putting out critically acclaimed games that are different from the norm. 

 

In this way, these subscription models arguably offer more room for inventive risky games because not everything needs to be AAA runaway hit. There's again room for interesting AA stuff to blossom.

 

As you were! Kanpai!

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2 hours ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

One major upside from my point of view of the game pass model is that it creates more room for diversity and creative freedom. Let's take Arkane as an example. Huge critical success with their high quality titles, but not enough of a mega money making hit for Bethesda and its shareholders. At some point they could very well have been dissolved or put to work on making Elder Scrolls DLC or whatever. 

 

As a 1st party game pass dev however, they can afford not doing CoD numbers. Critical acclaim becomes a far more important factor and metric because that gets eyes on game pass and that sells subscriptions. They're filling out the available library and raising the overall quality by putting out critically acclaimed games that are different from the norm.

 

But does it really? what games have been greenlit under XGP that are radically risky and inventive from a Microsoft owned developer?

 

Seems like the usual stuff so far. If you mean some developers can just carry on pretending tastes haven't changed for the mass market and can make throwback games with an actual budget, then maybe XGP is their saviour from having to conform to financial realities that all other large developers with massive burn rates have to face.

 

The next upcoming Arkane game is a multiplayer enabled online title for example, you'd think the Microsoft money would mean they could ignore that trend and make something else instead.

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1 minute ago, mushashi said:

The next upcoming Arkane game is a multiplayer enabled online title for example, you'd think the Microsoft money would mean they could ignore that trend and make something else instead

That was started under Bethesda leadership and I consider that an example of what I was trying to describe. Of course Arkane will say that the title they're making right now is the one they're most enthusiastic about so far,so we'll nev know beyond my gut feeling that they would have been making one of their trademark single player immersive experiences instead if Microsoft had acquired them sooner.

 

And of course, what I described above will be a visible long term effect if it indeed comes to pass. We shall see.

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12 hours ago, mushashi said:

 

But does it really? what games have been greenlit under XGP that are radically risky and inventive from a Microsoft owned developer?


bleeding edge (shouldn’t have bothered)

grounded as a diversion for obsidian and as a early access title.

oh, and obviously sea of thieves wouldn’t be anywhere without game pass, even if it was originally a paid for title with limited content.

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8 hours ago, footle said:


bleeding edge (shouldn’t have bothered)

grounded as a diversion for obsidian and as a early access title.

oh, and obviously sea of thieves wouldn’t be anywhere without game pass, even if it was originally a paid for title with limited content.

 

BE & Grounded both started before their developers were purchased.

 

We've yet to see anything Microsoft's acquisitions have started as first parties, nevermind designed with Gamepass in mind.

 

21 hours ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

That was started under Bethesda leadership and I consider that an example of what I was trying to describe. Of course Arkane will say that the title they're making right now is the one they're most enthusiastic about so far,so we'll nev know beyond my gut feeling that they would have been making one of their trademark single player immersive experiences instead if Microsoft had acquired them sooner

 

While they might have been dragged down the four player multiplayer thing, I don't think Arkane's ever really let The Crossing and multiplayer asperations die.   They're not a one trick pony.

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26 minutes ago, monkeydog said:

While they might have been dragged down the four player multiplayer thing, I don't think Arkane's ever really let The Crossing and multiplayer asperations die.   They're not a one trick pony.

That's true. I'm of course also extremely biased towards their immersive sim-like experiences. 

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Anyone making Battle Toads without Game Pass as a delivery model? Whether that's a positive or not might be questionable but it's at least a different type of game to those platform holders have typically been funding.

 

But as others have said it's far too early to tell. It's going to take years before we see the trajectory of first/second party titles on Game Pass in terms of styles and quality.

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On 27/01/2022 at 21:36, 5R7 said:

could somebody take all the crap, which has nothing to do with the topic, and is now just game pass baaaaad,  out of this thread and stick it in the Console WarZZZZZZZZZZZ thread where it belongs! please and thank you!

 

Over a month later, and after reading more posts, well after the discussion had returned back to the acquisition, I got bored at work and carved out all of the Game Pass and gaming subscription service discussion into a new thread:

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I don’t know - Microsoft have said they won’t stand in the way of any workers union forming, whereas ActiBlizz have been trying to shut it down. Microsoft has a much better rep in regards to this stuff so surely, if even only to protect their own image, they’re going to need to be shown to bust some heads and change things when they take over. 

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Well, exactly. I mean, Microsoft have their own issues (pay gap, etc.), but the sort seen at Activision, and potentially worse?

 

Weird. I like Warren, but I don't see how this one isn't a swing and a miss at Big Tech. Without being able to read the story, of course.

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Sounds like Actiblizz have just announced they’re scrapping the vaccine mandate for their offices so sounds like it will get worse before it gets better. Might not be many left by the time the deal goes through!

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Quote

Four U.S. senators sent a letter Thursday to the Federal Trade Commission citing concern about Microsoft Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc., saying the deal could undermine employees’ calls for accountability over alleged misconduct at the videogame company.

 

In the letter, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) urge FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan to assess whether the planned transaction could exacerbate the flurry of sexual-abuse, harassment and retaliation allegations at Activision stemming from recent federal and state investigations.

 

“We are deeply concerned about consolidation in the tech industry and its impact on workers,” the letter says.

 

The senators note in their letter that the terms of the merger would enable Activision’s longtime chief executive, Bobby Kotick, to continue in his role until the transaction’s expected closing in 2023 and receive a potentially significant exit package upon his departure. Last summer more than 1,800 Activision employees signed a letter calling on Mr. Kotick to resign.

 

“This lack of accountability, despite shareholders, employees, and the public calling for Kotick to be held responsible for the culture he created, would be an unacceptable result of the proposed Microsoft acquisition,” the letter says. If the FTC determines that the deal could worsen the negotiating position between workers and the companies, then the agency should oppose it, the letter says.

 

An Activision spokeswoman said the transaction between Microsoft and Activision won’t interrupt any of the actions that Activision’s leadership team implemented last year and so far this year with regards to improving its workplace.

 

“This is a compelling transaction for all stakeholders, including employees,” she said, adding that no additional special compensation arrangements were made for Mr. Kotick in connection with the transaction.

 

Microsoft corporate vice president and general counsel Lisa Tanzi said workplace culture is a critical priority for the company. “We believe Activision Blizzard will continue making progress, and we’re committed to further progress after the deal closes,” she said.

 

Microsoft’s roughly $75 billion deal for Activision is under review by the FTC, the Journal reported in February. Ms. Khan is expected to scrutinize whether the tech giant’s move to expand its videogame business will substantially lessen competition.

 

All proposed mergers of substantial size must be submitted for government antitrust review, which is conducted by either the FTC or the Justice Department. Both agencies have closely scrutinized tech deals in the past.

 

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision, known for its Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush franchises, has around 10,000 employees, and it posted close to $9 billion in revenue for 2021.

 

On Tuesday a federal judge approved an $18 million settlement between Activision and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which had been investigating the videogame company on allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation.

 

“Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination from our workplace,” Mr. Kotick said ahead of the ruling in anticipation of its approval.

 

Separately, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Activision for allegedly ignoring numerous complaints by female employees of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Activision has said the lawsuit, which was filed in July, includes distorted, and in many cases, false descriptions of its past, and that it strives to pay all employees fairly.

 

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Activision on its handling of employees’ allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination, the Journal reported in September. The federal agency subpoenaed Activision and several of its senior executives, including Mr. Kotick. A spokeswoman for the company has said it is cooperating with the SEC.

 

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