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Is this the real reason Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard?

Microsoft and the metaverse
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's historic $70 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard has widely been reported for the games it will bring to Game Pass, the Xbox subscription service, and the developers that now sit under the Xbox name. But there's a bigger impact of this takeover, which includes Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and more hit games.

Microsoft could just have won the metaverse before it's even got off the ground. Microsoft has recently broadened its scope from the console hardware business and sees the future of Xbox tied to Game Pass. It wants its monthly games subscription service on as many platforms as possible, beyond Xbox Series X/S.

The statement released on the buyout says: "The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own." 

If you want to know more about the metaverse, then checkout our guide where we answer the biggest question of all, what is the metaverse?

The Microsoft metaverse

Call of Duty on Game Pass

Call of Duty is just one of the huge communities now open to Microsoft (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Microsoft already has Minecraft, a metaverse in itself of content and creators, and now thanks to the Microsoft takeover of Activision (opens in new tab) it can add some of the largest brands to it, including World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Overwatch. Not to mention Microsoft now has a huge stake in the mobile market: it now owns Candy Crush.

The Microsoft buyout of Activision Blizzard gives it access to huge gaming communities – Call of Duty: Warzone has over 100 million players (opens in new tab). The metaverse is about unifying communities through the tools of Web 3, including VR and AR (areas Microsoft is invested in) as well as NFTs and the interoperable advantages it offers; your online personality and content can exist across all of Microsoft's games.

Microsoft has already revealed it's developing 3D avatars and immersive virtual for Teams, and has invested in cryptocurrency, aligning with Ethereum's parent company, ConsenSys and funding the development of carbon neutral blockchain Palm NFT Studio.

Who else?

Zynga and Take-Two takeover

Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive bought NFT game developer Zynga (Image credit: Zynga)

NFTs and gaming are grabbing the headlines, for example Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive bought mobile developer Zynga last week for $12.7 billion – Zynga had begun developing NFT-enabled games. Square Enix, Ubisoft, and others are all involved or looking to get into NFTs, and it's because of the metaverse. 

But Microsoft's takeover of Activision Blizzard, it's brands, games and communities now puts it in the driving seat for the future of Web 3 and the opportunities the metaverse offers designs, artists and developers.

So who could be next on Microsoft's radar? While Meta wants to be the new metaverse, the reality is all eyes are on Roblox (opens in new tab). Creator David Baszucki founded Roblox, a Minecraft/Lego like brand, as a platform to enable shared experiences for its users. It's not a game, but a platform that hosts games, events and experiences. But even Microsoft may bulk at the asking price of this one: it's worth $38 billion on its own.

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Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX and 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. Ian launched the magazine X360 in 2005 and has relaunched many others. In his early career Ian wrote for music and film magazines, including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. With over 25 years' experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.