Microsoft Makes a Move

By Jawad Abbas, Staff Writer

On January 18th, 2022, Microsoft announced its ambition to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal. The tech giant has been making leaps and bounds as it strives to make changes in the gaming scene today and catch up to its Japanese counterpart, Sony.

Many are familiar with the ongoing rivalry between Xbox and Playstation. The gaming giants have been at the forefront of gaming and have been paving the way in the gaming industry for the last few decades. As time progresses, this rivalry seems to be meeting no end with the “next generation” of consoles being released in the latter quarter of 2020. The Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5 were released on November 10, 2020 and November 12, 2020 respectively.

In the mid 2000s the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 released and proceeded to completely revolutionize the gaming industry. The battle between Sony and Microsoft during the mid 2000s to see who would emerge victorious in the console wars was a close one, with the Playstation 3 edging the lead over the Xbox 360 by selling a whopping 88 million units to the Xbox’s 85 million. However, in the early 2010s the Playstation 4 made sure to make a statement by selling 116.9 million units and earning its place as the fourth best best selling console of all time. On the other hand, things weren’t looking too good for team Xbox, with the Xbox One managing to sell around 50 million units. Of course 50 million units is nothing to scoff at, but the underwhelming sales failed to outsell its predecessor by 35 million units. Without a doubt, Microsoft knew that they had a problem on their hands and needed to make changes soon or else the gap between Sony and Microsoft would only proceed to expand.

Sony’s decision to produce games in-house and to acquire and fund smaller developers is what many believe is the reason for Sony’s success in recent times. Ever since The Game Awards was established in 2014, Sony has managed to have produced at least one title of the top five nominees in each year, with the exception of 2014. Sony has had a total of eight contenders for Game of The Year since the award was established in 2014, with two titles even managing to claim the prize, compared to Microsoft’s measly one nominee. In the past four years, two of the four video games prized by The Game Awards to win the title for Game Of The Year were awarded to God of War and The Last of Us Part 2. Both of these titles are games that are playable exclusively on the Playstation 4 meaning that Xbox fans may never get the opportunity to play the most notorious games of 2018 and 2020. Sony has managed to acquire video game developers such as Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, and Sucker Punch, among others who are able to consistently deliver notorious titles that are worthy of contending for the highest honors in the gaming industry.

The Xbox team has been planning and is now implementing measures to challenge Playstation once again. Since 2014, Microsoft has acquired three of the biggest video game developers around the world with Mojang ($2.5 billion, 2014), ZeniMax Media ($8.1 billion, 2020), and now Activision Blizzard ($68.7 billion, 2022). With these new acquisitions, Microsoft can claim to have a total of nine nominees in contention for the Game of The Year award and two winners of the prize. 

Simply by adding three new developers to the Xbox team, Microsoft has managed to level the playing field in terms of having the most well acknowledged games available for Xbox. As far as what future titles hold for both Playstation and Xbox remains to be seen, but Xbox is definitely pushing in the right direction by adding more capable developers to create titles that only Xbox fans will be able to enjoy.

Photo by Javier Martínez on Unsplash

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