The massive deal unites the Minecraft and Call of Duty publishers with an eye towards the coming metaverse.
- Microsoft will acquire Call of Duty, Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
- With the deal, Microsoft says it will develop “building blocks for the metaverse.”
Microsoft shook up the video game industry this morning, announcing that it will acquire publisher Activision Blizzard—the company behind Call of Duty and Warcraft—in a deal valued at $68.7 billion. And Microsoft says that it’s a move made in anticipation of the metaverse.
The metaverse is a term that describes a future vision of the internet, in which users interact with avatars across shared 3D spaces. It’s envisioned as a more immersive way to socialize, play, and even work online, with blockchaintechnology and crypto assets (including NFTs) expected to play a role as users move across interoperable platforms.
In a release, Microsoft said that the deal will provide “building blocks for the metaverse.” Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella added, “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today, and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”
Ethereum-based games like Decentraland and The Sandbox are seen as early examples of the metaverse, letting users purchase, customize, and even monetize digital land plots sold as NFT assets. Facebook has also signaled significant interest in the coming metaverse, revealing its vision last October as it renamed its parent company to Meta.
Activision Blizzard has yet to make any moves in the NFT or metaverse spaces. Microsoft, meanwhile, announced in November that it is building 3D avatar support for its Teams virtual meeting platform, and will create immersive environments for users to interact within.