Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

In that IGN editorial Davison compares future consoles to current high-end blu-ray players. Yes, it’s true that if you have a dedicated blu-ray player you get much-higher fidelity audio and video without as much compression, and for those people who want the best-possible experience, that’s what they get. But streaming 4K movies to your TV is plenty good enough for most people.

Indeed. Actually, I bought my first ever blu-ray 2 weeks ago. I got the XSX and finally had a way to play them, so I skipped from DVDs back in the 90s straight to a 4k HDR copy of Blade Runner 2049. It looked great on my OLED TV. Did it look better than the streaming version? Nah, not really.

Will I be buying any more blu-rays? No, certainly not.

Double Fine is the test case here, and it’s still a little too early to tell. Activision crushed the creative spirit of Blizzard with business model demands and corporate strategy. It’s possible MS is set up to empower its studios creatively now. That’s what they claim to be doing with DF and others. Maybe this is the start of a Blizzard renaissance! I think a lot of the original talent has moved on or been fired for misconduct, so maybe that would be no different than building a new studio from scratch at this point. But I have to assume there’s still tons of great talent there.

So who’s really left?

EA. But some of their most lucrative franchises are licensed, and you gotta wonder what the language is on those. And licensors generally don’t like the idea of getting smaller checks, which is why Sony was forced to put The Show on Xbox.

Take Two and Ubi. Yeah, I could see one of these falling next.

Yeah I did that exact thing but with The Last Jedi. Various message boards and articles said it was a great blu-ray to showcase high-end video and audio. Maybe it looked and sounded 2% better to me? But it’ll be the last blu-ray I buy for a long time.

I didn’t do an A/B comparison, but you shouldn’t need to. Real talk, it doesn’t make any difference.

I can’t imagine Sony affording Ubisoft or Take2. Microsoft could, but at that point they really would have to be concerned about antitrust.

Don’t forget the Embracer Group, which has gobbled up an impressive string of studios, including Gearbox, Sumo, THQ Nordic, Koch Media, Aspyr, and more.

They’re all either going to need to get bigger by merging or will be acquired.

Take-Two’s market cap is $17 billion. Ubi is about $6-7 billion. Very digestible by Sony.

Head over to AVS forum if you want to see how the hardcore geeks justify Blu-rays. They’ll tell you all about where to look for the picture for compression artifacts and crushed blacks and yadda yadda. It matters to some folks.

I have two sound bars in my house now. THAT’s the sign of impending doom for build-your-own setups. (Though my main TV/console still has a 7.1 system and likely will till I die of old age and my kid drops it at Goodwill.)

Yeah I grew up pushing counters around. Squad Leader (the original, pre ASL), Panzer Leader, even Tactics II (although IIRC, that was an old game when we picked it up). But I just can’t handle modern computer wargames. Completely agree @TheWombat, the UI designs more often than not are just awful, and I have trouble getting excited with the poor graphics (although that said, Steam says Gladius is my second most played game, and its graphics are pretty primitive — although still a step up from a lot of modern computer war games).

Imagine COD as an MS exclusive and GTA as a Sony exclusive. Bros would all have to buy two consoles.

Totally, that’s my point. It matters to the serious enthusiasts, but to everybody else it doesn’t make a dang bit of difference.

Streaming games, or playing games on the SoC in your TV, will be the same way. Not yet. But you can see it coming.

Reminds me of the audiophiles I hung around with back in the day. The guys who bought $25k tube amplifiers and stuff.

Wow so many replies.

I absolutely think there are anti-competitive concerns with this deal. If American DoJ won’t do anything (like they did nothing to block FB’s purchase of Instagram and turned FB into this social media monster), I’ll bet EU won’t sit on their hands. It is anti consumer choice to make consumers buy/play CoD only on Xbox or PC. I bet MS will definitely come out saying that they will support Playstation version of CoD “for the foreseeable future” or some such vague statement to placate the authorities.

Bethesda doesn’t have anything that approaches the sales of Call of Duty, except Skyrim which MS continues to bring to PlayStation platforms.

Nah. I’ll stake my teeny weeny insignificant Qt3 rep on it. The only way you’re going to get new Call of Duty games* on PlayStation after the acquisition goes through and any current deals end, is one of four ways:

  1. Warzone only as a F2P non-exclusive.
  2. Sony cuts a deal for Game Pass on PlayStation.
  3. Microsoft buys PlayStation.
  4. Hack the browser to stream XCloud.

*Note that we’re probably talking 2023 or 2024 since the deal won’t even be final until next year.

My guess is if the US or EU tries to force Microsoft to release Activision games on Playstation they’ll just walk away from the deal.

The Japanese government probably will block any potential purchase of PS business from Sony. Playstation has now taken over Sony’s consumer electronic business to be their the biggest money earner for Sony, so that is a cash cow Sony won’t give up easily. Same with Nintendo, the Japanese government will never let that go to MS.

Hell if not for the sexual misconduct allegations, ATVI would probably tell MS to eff off. Those allegations drove down ATVI’s share price and make them vulnerable.

I bet MS looked at purchasing Ubisoft as well. The French government at least will never let that happen on anti-competitive grounds, or even outright cultural grounds.

Yes, that is exactly what happened.

MS could still release COD on PlayStation and keep lots of value.

For $10 a month, get COD, Halo, and 200 other games. Or spend $70 just for COD. The former is a much better value unless you only play COD.