Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

Today: Square Enix finally brings Kingdom Hearts to Switch but maybe not exactly how fans wanted — Discounts on brand new games at IndieGala — Wallace & Gromit creators hiring for a game project

Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard

Xbox and Activision Blizzard banner

Microsoft has just announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion dollars.

Activision Blizzard “will continue to operate independently” until all the kinks in the deal have been worked out, and once the acquisition is complete all the studios in the group will answer directly to Phil Spencer.

  • Microsoft will pay $95 per share
  • Bobby Kotick will report to Phil Spencer
  • Will become the third-largest game company by revenue
  • Xbox “deeply value individual studio cultures”

Xbox boss: While Bethesda Softworks and other studios enjoy a degree of autonomy within the Xbox Game Studios group, Activision Blizzard has been wracked by one scandal after the other, and Microsoft will most likely have to take a rather active role in restoring the peace. Bobby Kotick is likely to step down once the transaction is concluded in 2023, although neither Microsoft nor Activision would comment further on this. 

Catalogue: Xbox Game Pass will “offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can”, which includes a long list of heavy hitters including World of WarCraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch and Spyro the Dragon.

What parody game starred John Goodman?

a) Microshaft Winblows 98
b) Star Warped
c) Pyst
d) The X-Fools

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Kingdom Hearts on Switch in February

A list of Kingdom Hearts game arriving on the Cloud

Kingdom Hearts is coming to Switch on February 10th, but will only be available to stream from the cloud.

That means you'll need a pretty sturdy internet connection to enjoy Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind — and the price is pretty steep too.

King’s ransom: Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece for Cloud commands the princely fee of $89.99, generously discounted to $71.99 at launch. Each game costs $39.99, $49.99 and $49.99 respectively.

Gold standard: Square Enix has taken some flak for being the first major publisher to increase the prices of their standard editions of new PC and console games to $70.

Helioptile and Heliolisk coming to Pokémon Go in Power Plant event

Pokemon GO Season of Heritage artwork

The next Pokémon Go Season of Heritage story is about to begin and introduces Electric-types Helioptile and Heliolisk as part of the Power Plant Event, which lasts from January 19th until February 1st.

You'll encounter more Magnemite, Grimer, Voltorb, Electabuzz, Porygon, Trubbish, and Helioptile in the wild during the event, with a chance to run into Shiny Electrode and Jolteon.

Raid battles: Five-Star Raids will feature Genesect until January 24th, and then Regice until February 1st. Field Research Task Encounters will also focus on Electric-types.

Bad feeling: Niantic is also teasing that something bigger is on the horizon as Spark continues his investigation and “begins to have a creeping feeling that something unexpected is going to happen.”

Discounts on new games at IndieGala

IndieGala store front

Need something new to ward off the winter blues? Then check out the discounts at IndieGala! You can grab God of War for just £33.59, a 16% discount.

Monster Hunter Rise just set up camp on PC too, and IndieGala asks no more than £39.99, a 20% discount. If you're more in the mood for some slapstick platforming, Human: Fall Flat is discounted by 66% and will only set you back £4.07. Finally, cyberpunk shooter, The Ascent is 33% off at £16.74.

What parody game starred John Goodman?

John Goodman as King Mattruss, resting in a hot tub.

ANSWER: Pyst!

Pyst asks one of the most important questions of our time: What would the island from Myst be like if the 4 million people who bought the game just trashed the place? That's it. That's the joke, the whole idea behind Parroty Interactive's interactive parody where you explore interactive postcards from Pyst Island.

The game stars John Goodman as King Mattruss, and he even performs a jolly song number about being pissed – clever, huh? While Pyst and its humor has not aged particularly gracefully, Myst co-creator Rand Miller actually keeps a copy of it in Cyan World's vault.

The Activision news has sent shock waves through the games industry, it's one of the biggest video games stories of this era, and we don't expect the acquisitions to end there. How did you feel about the news, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!