Microsoft Mocks World of Warcraft as being "Unoriginal Junk"
Would you spend money on something you think is unoriginal junk?
Because, in what is arguably one of the largest flexes in video game history, Microsoft – who recently bought the entirety of Activision – including Blizzard, who develop Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Starcraft and more, called Acti-Blizz out for making basic, unoriginal video games.
Which brings into question why they would want to spend $70 billion dollars on a purchase of that magnitude in the first place, especially if they have such a low opinion of the company and their respective games. Other than to absorb and/or dissolve certain competing studios.
For those of you unaware, Microsoft recently bought up Activision Blizzard for an enormous $68.7 billion US dollars. This is after their recent struggles with a variety of lawsuits, and a mere 2 years after purchasing ZeniMax and Bethesda for $7.5 billion US dollars.
And it is my understanding that this buyout of ActiBlizz isn’t as simple as I was first under the impression of. While Microsoft announced this deal in January of 2022, the final purchase is pending approval by competition regulators within many countries around the world.
The ability to potentially annul an agreement like this is to directly prevent a single company from inhibiting competition.
If it were not in place, Microsoft – or Tencent, could potentially purchase every major gaming company in the world, and have every single game directly developed and published by them. Setting an unheard of precedent.
In light of this, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority issued a statement that went on to claim they were investigating the deal earlier in July, with a deadline for this investigation set for early September.
The UK isn’t the only country scrutinizing Microsoft for this monumental acquisition. The New Zealand Commerce Commission published a report in June that Microsoft had issued a direct statement for:
“Specifically, with respect to Activision Blizzard video games, there is nothing unique about the video games developed and published by Activision Blizzard that is a ‘must have’ for rival PC and console video game distributors that could give rise to a foreclosure concern,”
Microsoft openly admitted that ActiBlizz do not develop or publish any video games that are remotely unique – or unique enough to potentially impact the gaming market on any type of significant level. No doubt a shocking blow to a company that is already largely considered to be a laughing stock in the community.
According to Rock Paper Shotgun, Call of Duty has earned a cumulative total of $27 billion dollars for Activision since the series’ inception back in 2003. During a call last year, Activision’s Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre confirmed that “Call of Duty is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time.”
Evidently the most bland, unoriginal games can be large successes, according to this logic.
A topic of contention with regards to this specific purchase was whether or not Microsoft would be withdrawing support for other platforms outside of the platforms directly owned by them: AKA, the Microsoft Store and XBox.
Microsoft went ahead and clarified their stance on other platforms, by confirming their main competitors – Sony, Nintendo, NetEase, and even Valve, along with their respective digital platforms would retain their status as “significant global competitors,” which is largely thanks to a “fragmented market.”
Disregarding their major competitors listed above, Microsoft elaborated on how this could potentially affect smaller developers or publishers, by confirming that they should not in any way be affected by this deal, given they have a much larger variety of distribution tools and options available to them.
This whole thing is one massive admission of how.. unbelievably average ActiBlizz’s catalog is these days. Not that Microsoft are really driving the genre forward with any significant advancements themselves.
And while I still fully expect this sale to inevitably go through, it’s interesting watching this develop. I’m curious how Microsoft’s acquisition of World of Warcraft will affect the game. That’s my main concern. I don’t play any other ActiBlizz title outside of Overwatch, and that game has been garbage for years.