How close is Xbox to acquiring Activision Blizzard? At the moment, we have no idea… but Xbox boss Phil Spencer is feeling “good” about how far they’ve come in the process.
During an interview with Bloomberg, the Microsoft CEO of gaming gave an update, of sorts, on the upcoming deal which see Microsoft own the beleaguered games company.
“I feel good about the progress that we’ve been making, but I go into the process supportive of people who maybe aren’t as close to the gaming industry asking good, hard questions about ‘what is our intent? What does this mean?” he said. “If you play it out over five years, is this constricting a market? Is it growing a market?”
Of course, the deal has been under widespread scrutiny since Microsoft announced it would purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion back in January. The deal has already been investigated for potential insider trading, and the UK has since begun probing the acquisition to ensure the deal is good for consumers.
“I’ve never done a 70 billion-dollar deal, so I don’t know what my confidence means,” added Spencer. “I will say the discussions we’ve been having seem positive.”
If the deal does go through, it will see Microsoft own one of the biggest gaming studios in the world But don’t worry – the company assures consumers that console exclusives are “something we’re just going to see less and less of.”
“Maybe you happen in your household to buy an Xbox and I buy a PlayStation and our kids want to play together and they can’t because we bought the wrong piece of plastic to plug into our television,” he said. “We really love to be able to bring more players in reducing friction, making people feel safe, secure when they’re playing, allowing them to find their friends, play with their friends, regardless of what device — I think in the long run that is good for this industry. And maybe in the short run, there’s some people in some companies that don’t love it. But I think as we get over the hump and see where this industry can continue to grow, it proves out to be true.”
It’s not the first time Spencer has hinted that console exclusivity is a thing of the past.
But more importantly, what’s Microsoft going to do about Activision Blizzard’s troubled legacy of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations?
Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Timeline: The Story So Far
Blizzard Activision has already agreed to clean up its act (and public image) before the deal was made… and Spencer still seems to take the company on its word.
“I believe they’re committed to that,” said Spencer. “When I look at the work that they’re doing now — there’s always more that can be done — but I believe from the studio leaders there that I know very well, some of them former Xbox members, that they’re committed to this journey. And I applaud that regardless of the deal.”
Whether or not Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make a positive difference to the company remains to be seen. But it looks as though the deal is progressing regardless.
Want to find out more about the Activision Blizzard deal? Check out how the deal stacks up against other major video game acquisitions as well as Microsoft’s approach to unionization.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.