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Microsoft’s Activison Blizzard Acquisition: The Complete Timeline of the News So Far



It’s been a little over a year since Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard. Since then, what looked to be another blockbuster acquisition appears far more uncertain as regulators in multiple countries scrutinize a deal that could potentially upend the video game industry.

While legal experts have maintained that the Activision Blizzard acquisition doesn’t constitute a monopoly (more on that later), it still marks a seismic shift in the video game landscape – and warrants an appropriate level of examination. But how did another day in the increasing mergers-focused industry become such a regulatory landmine? Read on for a full breakdown of how we got here.

Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard: The Story So Far

The acquisition, which is set to close in 2023, has major implications for the games industry encompassing one of gaming’s biggest console makers and some of gaming’s biggest franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.


January 18, 2022 – Microsoft Announces It Will Acquire Activision Blizzard.

Xbox announced via its official Xbox Wire site that it would acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. All Activision Blizzard studios which include Blizzard but also Call of Duty developers like Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer would report to Xbox head Phil Spencer. The main thrust of the deal is that Xbox announced it would work to bring as many Activision Blizzard games as it can into the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

The deal was not immediate and Xbox did not provide a timeline for when the acquisition would be completed, but the news easily eclipsed Xbox’s last major acquisition, a purchase of ZeniMax Media in 2020, for what seems now like a paltry $7.5 billion.

April 1, 2022 – U.S. Senators Raise Concerns Over Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Several months after the announcement of the acquisition, four United States senators including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Sheldon Whitehouse sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. This letter outlined concerns that the deal could disenfranchise current Activision Blizzard employees following allegations of sexual misconduct and other hostile workplace practices.

August 24, 2022 – Xbox Launches Website Outlining Benefits of the Acquisition

To spell out the benefits of Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard to the public, Microsoft launched a website that highlighted its “vision for gaming,” and the positives of what could become the biggest deal in video game history.

According to Xbox, the acquisition will mean more games on more devices, more choices for how to purchase games, and variety for mobile gamers. Xbox also claims that developers will have easier access to customers, a fairer marketplace, and greater flexibility in payment systems.

September 1, 2022 – Call of Duty Will Still Launch on PlayStation on the Same Day, Also Game Pass

Spencer made a point to say that new Call of Duty games would still be released on PlayStation on the same day as it launches elsewhere, even if the goal is to eventually debut new Call of Duty, as well as Overwatch and Diablo, on Xbox Game Pass.

In another blog post, Spencer confirmed that PlayStation gamers will receive the new Call of Duty on the same launch day as any other platform, including presumably Xbox Game Pass where first-party Xbox games are released day-and-date as retail.

September 7, 2022 – PlayStation’s Jim Ryan Calls Xbox’s Call of Duty Promise ‘Inadequate on Many Levels’

The first of a series of responses, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called the promise of bringing Call of Duty to PlayStation after the acquisition “inadequate.”

In a statement to, Ryan said that the publicly stated promise to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement is not appealing to PlayStation. “After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers.”

October 12, 2022 – Following Concerns Raised by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Xbox Says PlayStation Is Too Big to Fail

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns over Xbox’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In response, Xbox said the concerns were unsupported and claimed PlayStation was too big to fail.

“The suggestion that the incumbent market leader, with clear and enduring market power, could be foreclosed by the third largest provider as a result of losing access to one title is not credible,” Xbox said in a statement. In addition, Xbox said that even if every Call of Duty player on PlayStation switched to Xbox, “the PlayStation gamer base remaining would be significantly larger than Xbox.”

October 31, 2022 – Phil Spencer: Call of Duty Will Continue to Ship on PlayStation ‘As Long as There’s a PlayStation to Ship To’

In ongoing commitments to keeping Call of Duty multiplatform, Phil Spencer said the intent was not to take Call of Duty away from PlayStation gamers and that as long as there is a PlayStation to ship to, Xbox will ship Call of Duty to Sony’s console.

Speaking on the Same Brain YouTube channel, Spencer cited Minecraft, a game that Xbox continued to ship to other platforms even after acquiring developer Mojang.

November 11, 2022 – Xbox Offers PlayStation a 10-year Deal to Keep Call of Duty on the Platform

It was reported by The New York Times that Xbox offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. While PlayStation did not comment on the offer, this marks a seven-year increase over the current three-year deal in place to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.

This deal will also come to mirror a similar arrangement made with Nintendo that we will discuss in more detail further down.

December 8, 2022 – The Federal Trade Commission Sues to Block Xbox’s Activision Blizzard Acquisition

In the largest rebuke yet, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In a press release, the FTC said that Xbox could “harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or ‘degrading’ rivals’ access to its popular content.” The FTC cited the acquisition of ZeniMax Media as one example of this, and how games like Redfall and Starfield will not be appearing on rival consoles.

In an internal memo, current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told employees that while the lawsuit “sounds alarming,” the expectation is that the deal will proceed as planned.

December 12, 2022 – Phil Spencer Says Sony Wants to Grow ‘By Making Xbox Smaller’

In a slight departure of tone, Spencer struck back at PlayStation’s attempts to block the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard by saying PlayStation wants to “protect their dominance” by “making Xbox smaller.”

Spencer appeared on the Second Request podcast calling Sony the only “major opposer” to the deal. “They have a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games day and date on PC, [and] they don’t put their games in the subscription when they launch their games,” he said.

While Spencer previously spent months talking about how Call of Duty would remain on PlayStation, this was met with Jim Ryan calling these overtures “inadequate.” By hitting back on PlayStation’s dominance, Spencer marked a change in tone as the battle over the acquisition continued to intensify.

January 5, 2023 – UK CMA Extends Investigation into Xbox’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Citing the complexity of the case, the CMA announced it would extend its investigation into the acquisition by up to eight weeks to process the amount of evidence it has gathered. Plus, the CMA must also go through the responses it acquired from the public after reaching out for opinions about the acquisition.

The extension means that the final submission date for the CMA’s report on whether Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is negative for the industry is now April 26 instead of its original deadline of March 1. However, the CMA also said the report could be completed anytime before that date.

January 30, 2023 – The Last of Us’ Success on HBO Proves Sony’s Merger Opposition Is Baseless

While not an official statement, Activision Blizzard CCO Lulu Cheng Meservey tweeted at the official FTC Twitter account citing the success of HBO’s adaptation of Sony’s The Last of Us on HBO as proof that Sony’s opposition to the acquisition is baseless.

“Sony has an unrivaled warchest of IP, not just in gaming but TV, movies, and music — which can be developed into games, or can market existing games,” Meservey said. “It’s no wonder they also continue to dominate as the market leader for consoles. In gaming, Sony is ‘the first of us’ – and they will be just fine without the FTC’s protection.”

Meservey cited the record-breaking viewership for HBO’s The Last of Us, which is also produced by PlayStation Productions and Sony Pictures Television, as examples of Sony’s wide net.

February 3, 2023 – The European Union Issues Antitrust Warning to Microsoft

According to Politico, EU representatives issued a formal warning to Microsoft over its acquisition plans, claiming that Microsoft could be “incentivized” to keep Call of Duty away from rival consoles.

In response, Microsoft said it is “listening carefully to the European Commission’s concerns and are confident we can address them.”

With the EU, the UK, and the US seemingly critical of the acquisition, scrutiny from the world’s top market regulators has only intensified as the deal tries to find a way forward.

February 8, 2023 – Xbox’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Could Harm Gamers, CMA Says

The UK’s CMA published a provisional report of its investigation that raised several concerns about Xbox’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. This included risk of higher prices for games, fewer choices, and less innovation for UK gamers.

One particular area of concern is cloud gaming. According to the CMA, Microsoft accounts for 60% to 70% of current cloud gaming offerings and making Call of Duty an exclusive could “alter the future of gaming.”

The CMA also said that making games exclusive to Xbox “could substantially reduce the competition between Xbox and PlayStation in the UK,” and “could result in all gamers seeing higher prices, reduced range, lower quality, and worse service in gaming consoles over time[.]”

February 21, 2023 – Xbox Signs 10-Year Deal to Bring Call of Duty to Nintendo, Nvidia

Microsoft president Brad Smith confirmed that the company signed a binding 10-year contract to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo device owners “the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity.” This deal is meant to highlight that Xbox’s acquisition would not silo Call of Duty to the Xbox ecosystem, and what better way than bringing Call of Duty to a platform the series has aggressively ignored in the past?

In particular, the promise to deliver Call of Duty games to Nintendo gamers with full content parity feels especially ambitious given Nintendo’s hardware performance issues.

On the same day, Microsoft announced a 10-year deal to bring all of its PC games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service, including Activision Blizzard titles. This is a direct response to the UK CMA’s concerns regarding cloud gaming as Nvidia is a major rival in the service.

With the agreement, Nvidia dropped its concerns over the acquisition, clearing away at least one major tech company from opposing the deal.

With months before the UK CMA’s final report and still plenty of hurdles left, we will likely have many more episodes before we see any conclusion to Microsoft’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard.


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Is Shimano about to ditch derailleur hangers? Patent reveals direct-mount derailleur design



Shimano looks to be following SRAM with a direct-mount derailleur design

A patent application filed by Shimano appears to show that the brand is working on an integrated rear derailleur, similar to what we’ve seen on SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission.

The patent drawing shows a clamp design with the derailleur fitting directly onto the rear dropout, removing the need for a derailleur hanger, and held in place by the thru-axle.


The patent application hints at Shimano moving to a design similar to SRAM’s direct-mount T-Type rear derailleur.

However, as with any patent application, concrete details are limited. It does, however, provide another hint as to where the future of high-end drivetrains may lie.

Here’s what we know so far.

What is SRAM T-Type?

SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission uses a direct-mount rear derailleur. Ian Linton / Our Media

Before, we look at Shimano’s patent, let’s quickly cast an eye back at SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission, launched only last week.

In one of the most significant developments in drivetrain design in a number of years, T-Type Eagle combines SRAM’s existing Universal Derailleur Hanger standard with a new, direct-mount rear derailleur.

The new derailleur has no B-tension or limit screw adjustment, and doesn’t need a derailleur hanger. Instead, it mounts directly to the bike’s frame at the dropout.

The derailleur has user-replaceable components and, all told, SRAM says the new T-Type Transmission is intended to increase drivetrain robustness and reliability, improve shifting under load and offer easier setup. (How does it perform? Read our SRAM T-Type Eagle review).

So what about Shimano?

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What has Shimano patented?

Shimano’s hanger patent drawing, showing the thru-axle threaded into the frame. Shimano

Shimano’s patent drawing shows a design for the mounting of a derailleur “coaxially” to the rear wheel of a bike.

Shimano says the purpose of the patent is “to provide a rear derailleur with improved usability”.

The derailleur mount is attached coaxially to the rear axle. Shimano

Key to this is what Shimano describes as an “‘angular position structure”. This looks similar to a B-gap screw on the rear of the mount and will likely be used for the initial setup of the rear derailleur.

This could also suggest that Shimano’s design is intended to work with different cassette sizes. By comparison, SRAM’s T-Type derailleur forgoes the B-gap screw as it is designed to specifically work with a 10-52t cassette.

A screw is used to set the angular adjustment of the derailleur. Shimano

Shimano says the B-gap screw improves usability because it “allows for easy adjustment of the angular position of the rear derailleur relative to the frame of the bicycle”.

The patent application shows the setup tool needed. This measures the number of teeth on the cassette to help line up the derailleur correctly.

The patent document also specifies the thickness of the two arms that fit around the dropout. It says these arms will have a radial thickness of at least 2mm to increase the rigidity of the rear derailleur.

How does Shimano’s patent compare to SRAM T-Type?

Is Shimano working on a direct-mount rear derailleur? Shimano

Shimano’s patent depicts a similar-looking design to SRAM’s T-Type rear derailleur.

Notably, Shimano’s drawing shows two arms sandwiching the rear dropout.

SRAM’s T-Type is mounted around the axle, enabling it to work with a wide range of bikes that use the UDH dropout. Ian Linton / Our Media

As with the T-Type mount, Shimano’s patent drawing shows the rear axle screwing into a thread used to mount the derailleur, centring the derailleur around a constant point of reference.

Ahead of launching the T-Type Eagle Transmission, SRAM introduced the Universal Derailleur Hanger dropout standard in 2019.

A bike must use UDH in order to be compatible with SRAM T-Type’s Hangerless Interface and, in turn, accept the T-Type rear derailleur.

Shimano’s drawings hint at a similar design, though at this stage we’re unable to comment on how it might influence frame design and, significantly, any cross-compatibility with SRAM’s UDH standard.

Will Shimano go direct-mount?

Shimano’s drawing shows the design depicted on a mountain bike. Shimano

This patent application suggests Shimano may add a true direct-mount option to its mountain bike range.

On the one hand, Shimano appears to be following SRAM, but this would not be Shimano’s first foray into direct-mount derailleurs – at least in name.

Shimano’s Direct-Mount Rear Derailleur (DRD) standard, which debuted in 2012, replaced the upper link of traditional hangers, connecting the frame to the upper pivot of compatible derailleurs.

Shimano’s existing Direct-Mount Rear Derailleur (DRD) design replaced the upper link of traditional hangers. Shimano

However, this still sees the derailleur mounted below the dropout.

Shimano’s latest patent shows the first design from the Japanese firm whereby the derailleur is mounted directly to the axle/dropout.

Will we see Shimano’s patent come to life?

Well, we’ll have to wait and see on that one. A patent application doesn’t guarantee an end product and, while Shimano’s application was published in June 2022, we have no way of knowing whether anything has progressed since then.

But, given SRAM’s recent move with the public launch of T-Type, a direct-mount counter-punch from Shimano seems more likely than not.


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Microsoft Rolls Out New Version of Teams



For those who turn to tech stock leader Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Teams app for getting together with colleagues, today was a big day. Microsoft rolled out a new version and, with it, detailed monthly average users (MAUs) for the tool. Investors, however, weren’t particularly pleased, as Microsoft slipped slightly in Monday’s trading.

First off, the big score: Microsoft revealed that 280 million users a month are actively putting Teams to work. That figure is up from 270 million back in January and up from 250 million in July 2021. It’s also said to be about 14 times the users that Salesforce’s (NASDAQ:CRM) Slack boasts. Either way, that’s a lot of workers, but Microsoft didn’t stop there. It also noted that it was “…reimagining Teams from the ground up” to ultimately produce a newer, better Teams. The improved version would require fewer resources to run and also work better overall.

The new version of Teams is not only twice as fast as the previous versions, but it also requires just half the computing resources to run. Thus, those who keep Teams running in the background while working on documents, spreadsheets, or whatever will see better performance while they work. It also uses 70% less disc space, allowing more documents and spreadsheets on your local drives.

Overall, Microsoft stock is considered a Strong Buy by analyst consensus based on 26 Buy recommendations against four Holds and one Sell recommendation. Further, with an average price target of $292.48, Microsoft stock comes with 5.83% upside potential.




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Warner Bros brawler Multiversus to go offline in June 2023



MultiVersus, the online competitive platform fighting game from Warner Bros. and Player First Games will be temporarily closing its doors on 25 June 2023. The title, which features a number of characters from Warner Bros.-owned properties like Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Game of Thrones, Scooby-Doo, and several others, will be pulled offline with an aim to relaunch in early 2024, according to a statement from the company.

The news has come as a surprise to many, as the free-to-play game had been operating continuously since July 2022, with the ability to purchase virtual currencies, cosmetic items, and pricey ‘Founders Packs’ that offered a bounty of items and character unlocks. New characters were introduced somewhat regularly, and two seasons of Battle Pass content were offered.

When Multiversus closes in June 2023, it will have been in operation for almost a full year.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this opening phase was framed as an ‘open beta’, and Player First Games appears to have no qualms in treating it as such. The game went through a closed beta stage in early 2022, before the ‘open beta’ began in July 2022.


Though the game saw particularly high player uptake when the open beta first launched – over 20 million players – by the end of 2022 it feels as if the player population – as well as new content – had dwindled.

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In a statement, Multiversus director Tony Huynh said that the studio knows ‘there’s still a lot of work to do’ on the game.

‘We have a clearer view of what we need to focus on, specifically the content cadence of new characters, maps, and modes to give you more ways to enjoy the game, along with updated netcode and more matchmaking improvements. We’ll also be reworking the progression system based on your feedback and looking at new ways for you to connect with your friends in the game.

After 25 June 2023, all online functionality in Multiversus will be unavailable, although offline training room and local multiplayer match functionality will still be available, along with access to any characters and cosmetic items that players have already unlocked.

Huynh assured that any and all progress that players have already unlocked in Multiversus would be carried over when the game relaunched next year.

A variety of ‘new content, features, and modes’ were promised for the 2024 relaunch.

We found Multiversus to be an entertaining take on the platform fighting genre, with some clever and interesting design choices that separated it from its competitors, and made for a more aggressive, dynamic game. Its focus on catering to high-level competitive play, despite the game’s clear intention to pull a broad, general audience with its characters, was much appreciated and seemingly well-received.

Though the temporary closure of the game is disappointing, given the dwindling playerbase, perhaps it’s what Multiversus needs to try and build in the longevity it needs to survive in a genre and community so heavily fixated on Nintendo‘s Super Smash Bros. series.



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