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Activision Blizzard Studios and IPs to be Owned by Microsoft

Activision Blizzard Studios and IPs to be Owned by Microsoft - Article

by William D'Angelo , posted on 18 January 2022 / 7,243 Views

Microsoft made a huge splash today with the announcement it is acquiring Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion. This is the by far the biggest acquisition in video game and Microsoft history. 

Once the deal closes the number of first-party Xbox studios will grow from 23 to 32.

The list of subsidiaries and divisions under Activision Blizzard include Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob and Treyarch.

The most well known IPs that are owned by Activision Blizzard include Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, and StarCraft. In total there are well over 30 IPs owned by Activision Blizzard.

Here we will be providing a quick rundown of what games each studio is best known for.

Activision Blizzard Studios and IPs to be Owned by Microsoft

Beenox

Beenox is a Canadian studio founded in 2000 and acquired by Activision in 2005. The studio has primarily focused on co-developing games with other studios. They have worked on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, and many more games over the years.

Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment, one half of the Activision Blizzard name, is the biggest developer in the acquisition as they have multiple teams working on different projects. The number of employees is twice that of Bethesda.

The studio would be best known for multiple franchises - Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. The company is currently developing Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, as well as continued work on World of Warcraft and Hearthstone.

High Moon Studios

High Moon Studios was founded in 2001 and was acquired by Activision in 2008. The studio has been in more of a support role recently having helped development on recent Call of Duty titles and Destiny 2.

Infinity Ward

Infinite Ward was founded in 2002 and has solely worked on the Call of Duty franchise. They have developed the Modern Warfare games, Ghosts, Infinity Warfare, and most recently the battle-royale game, Call of Duty: Warzone.

King

King was founded in 2003 and acquired by Activision in 2016. The company is best known for developing popular mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga. Most recently released Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! in 2021.

Raven Software

Raven Software was founded in 1990 was acquired by Activision in 1997. In the past the company developed Soldier of Fortune, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Quake 4, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, as well as support on Call of Duty titles. The studio's main focus right now is continued support for Call of Duty: Warzone.

Sledgehammer Games

Sledgehammer Games was founded in 2009 and has since been a developer for the Call of Duty franchise. Most recently released Call of Duty: Vanguard in 2021.

Toys for Bob

Toys for Bob was founded in 1989 and acquired by Activision in 2005. The studio would be best known for developing the Skylanders games, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. Most recently the team lent support on development of 2021's Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Treyarch

Treyarch was founded in 1996 and acquired by Activision in 2001. The studio has solely developed games for the Call of Duty franchise since 2008's World at War. Most recently they worked on the Zombies mode on 2021's Call of Duty: Vanguard.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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42 Comments
darthv72 (on 18 January 2022)

Better MS get them than Tencent, Google or Amazon.

  • +14
Zkuq (on 18 January 2022)

Oh the irony of Microsoft owning Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.

  • +13
Yassgragra Zkuq (on 23 January 2022)

I bet Sony didn’t see this coming 10 years ago.

  • 0
Libara (on 18 January 2022)

Far bigger chance that old great IPs will be used under MS than under Kotick.

  • +10
trunkswd Libara (on 18 January 2022)

I am hoping Toys for Bob are allowed to develop a new Banjo game as it just seems too perfect for them.

  • +14
Darwinianevolution trunkswd (on 18 January 2022)

It would be great to see this. TfB are too good to just be relegated to CoD support.

  • +9
Barozi Libara (on 18 January 2022)

Lost Vikings!!! (unlikely lol)

  • +6
thevideogameninja (on 18 January 2022)

This whole acquisition is absolutely insane!

Gamers were already wondering what Microsoft's previous acquisition last year (Bethesda, etc...) would eventually mean for the gaming landscape going forward but this almost makes it look pale in comparison.

When one of the big 3 gets the rights to COD, WOW, Diablo, Starcraft, Overwatch, and other big name titles it is now time to reconsider how exactly the next few years in gaming are going to play out.

I imagine news like this is going to way heavily, and I do stress heavily, on gamers minds going forward. While I still think even with these acquisitions that it will still be a bit of a fight for Microsoft to overtake Sony come next gen Microsoft could come out the gates with such a dominating head start there may be no chance for anyone else to keep up for the entire next gen run.

The big question on everyone's mind is will all of these studios now be making games exclusively for Microsoft with no chance of anything going multiplatform. Honestly, I think that is the way things will play out but when you consider how much money is generated by some of these titles (COD.) perhaps the teams behind them will not be so eager on missing out on quite literally half of their potential profits.

All I can say is that it is an exciting time to be alive in gaming and strap yourself in because we are more than likely in the beginning stages of another all out videogame console war.

-VIDEOGAME WAR NINJA APPROVED-

  • +5
2zosteven thevideogameninja (on 18 January 2022)

sony will and i believe always have a grip in Japan regardless of the high profile acquisitions by Microsoft.

  • +1
scrapking 2zosteven (on 18 January 2022)

Agreed, insofar as few of the IPs trading hands have a lot of resonance in Japan, as far as I am aware. But, it seems like Nintendo is dominant over Sony in Japan these days anyway.

  • +4
Dulfite 2zosteven (on 18 January 2022)

Sony is pathetic in Japan, barely better than MS. Nintendo rules Japan.

  • +2
mando44646 2zosteven (on 19 January 2022)

seems Nintendo has that now, since Sony abandoned the handheld market that Japan loves

  • +3
scrapking thevideogameninja (on 18 January 2022)

It's entirely possible that Microsoft will take one or more of the properties exclusive. But my guess is they may not, for the biggest ones. Having Call of Duty in Game Pass (for example) might be advantage enough to Microsoft's platforms that it's not worth also losing out on PlayStation sales.

I actually think this may leave things MORE multi-platform. For example, they may move all Blizzard titles on PC from Battle.net to also being on Steam.

  • +4
3sexty (on 19 January 2022)

Oh Gosh.. The day Sony was dreading has now arrived...

  • +4
Kristof81 (on 20 January 2022)

Don't they also own all Sierra catalogue as well?

  • +2
CaptainExplosion (on 18 January 2022)

And they own everything from Activision Blizzard now, right?

  • +2
scrapking CaptainExplosion (on 18 January 2022)

If they successfully get through all the regulatory hurdles, they will sometime in 2023.

  • +2
Yassgragra (on 25 January 2022)

6 days later and I’m still excited to see where this goes.

  • 0
KLAMarine (on 19 January 2022)

Trillion-dollar muscle being flexed

  • 0
progstarmac (on 19 January 2022)

Nintendo needs to buy Square Enix and Capcom

  • 0
mando44646 (on 19 January 2022)

I hope the devs won't be wasted as support studios for endless CoD reskins anymore. Let them be creative and work on older IPs. CoD doesn't need more than one developer

  • 0
shikamaru317 mando44646 (on 19 January 2022)

Eh, it's a huge revenue source so I think MS will leave at least the 2 most popular devs working on new CoD games, Infinity Ward and Treyarch, while Raven will most likely be left in charge of keeping CoD Warzone updated with new content. I could see Sledgehammer (the least popular of the 3 CoD devs) being removed from the CoD studio rotation in order to work on something new, and I could see Toys for Bob and Beenox being removed from CoD support to work on other things. Toys for Bob has a history of making pretty good platformers, so I wouldn't be surprise if MS puts them in charge of all 4 platformer IP's they now own (Banjo, Conker, Crash, and Spyro). Beenox also has some platformer experience so they could assist Toys for Bob with those 4 platformers, but they also have some Kart racing experience from Crash Team Racing, so MS could put them in charge of a multi-IP crossover Kart game featuring characters and tracks from across all of Xbox's IP's (Xbox, Bethesda, Activision, and Blizzard IP's).

  • 0
Jumpin (on 18 January 2022)

Oh.... my......... Götterdämmerung!

  • 0
Yassgragra (on 18 January 2022)

Who had this on their 2022 bingo sheet?

  • 0
Manlytears (on 18 January 2022)

Phil spender did some hypnotic magic that took control of Satya Nadella, a lot of money being used on Xbox! It's a game on another level in terms of "acquisitions", truly jaw-dropping! They have now definitively closed the "difference" that existed between them and Playstation and created a new "difference" in their favor.

I wonder how Sony will react... at this point they should probably buy a big publisher like T2 or Capcom... of course this will be bad for the industry, but it seems inevitable. Playstation begins to buy "BIG" or they will watch Xbox devouring the market, because after that purchase of 70Bi I have no doubt... Xbox can, and will, buy much more.

  • 0
h2ohno (on 18 January 2022)

Funnily enough I think this actually increases the likelihood we'll start seeing Call of Duty on Switch given the weird friendship Nintendo and Microsoft have now.

It makes sense for Microsoft to buy up as many big studios and franchises as possible. They are unlikely to be able to repeat the success of the 360 which benefited from being early to market and Sony making a series of mistakes with the PS3 which they will likely never make again. The early mistakes of the XB1 hurt the Xbox brand enough that simply releasing a powerful console that is easy to develop for will not be enough to outsell Playstation like it was for the 360. Ensuring that COD and Elder Scrolls only appear on Xbox and not Playstation could make a huge difference, however,

  • 0
trunkswd (on 18 January 2022)

If I have missed anything big IPs let me know and I will add it to the article.

  • 0
TheLegendaryBigBoss trunkswd (on 18 January 2022)

Prototype? I'm not sure if it's a big IP but I enjoyed the game on PS3.

  • +2
SecondWar trunkswd (on 18 January 2022)

The only notable IPs I can see missing are Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero - however the most recent Guitar Hero devs (Neversoft and Freestyle Games) were both shutdown.
The Tony Hawk studio (Vicarious Visions) was moved to be under Blizzard but not folded into them - are they worth a mention?

  • 0
2zosteven SecondWar (on 18 January 2022)

both games a thing of the past,

  • 0
SecondWar 2zosteven (on 18 January 2022)

Tony Hawk saw a release in 2020.
Guitar Hero, I’ll give you, but it and Tony Hawk are both mentioned in the press releases which says they are part of Microsoft’s plan.

  • 0
2zosteven SecondWar (on 18 January 2022)

tony hawk 5 was terrible, and do not see guitar hero ever coming back

  • 0
scrapking 2zosteven (on 18 January 2022)

More remasters of classic (good) Tony Hawk games, potentially? Toys for Bob did a great job With Tony Hawk 1 + 2, before being put into the Call of Duty mines to toil away as a support studio.

  • 0
2zosteven scrapking (on 19 January 2022)

TH 1&2 remaster is awesome, got it on the PS4

  • 0
scrapking 2zosteven (on 23 January 2022)

So perhaps task a developer with doing a remaster of TH3, or other good TH games, to help them "get" what a good TH game is. And then have that same team follow-up by making a new one from scratch.

  • 0
scrapking SecondWar (on 18 January 2022)

Guitar Hero is now listed twice! "...Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft, Tony Hawk, and Guitar Hero." :)

  • 0
trunkswd scrapking (on 18 January 2022)

I guess I shouldn't update articles after having a long day.

  • 0
scrapking trunkswd (on 18 January 2022)

thumbs up :)

  • 0
LivncA_Dis3 (on 18 January 2022)

If Microsoft just keeps on buying well oiled running machine companies,
I don't see them having a healthy growth in the gaming development spectrum.

Sony before aquiring said devs they make partnerships and over the course of their relationship they build and grow like insomniac, house marquee, bluepoint studios...

They didn't just outright buy them day one just because they have the money!

It was built on respect / cooperation / and giving creative freedom to independent devz before aquiring them.

  • -8
DeEscapist LivncA_Dis3 (on 19 January 2022)

What can you tell about Spiderman character. As a game and as a ex part of Marvel game? Or exclusive content in COD for PS. Its nothing but bought and took away from all the othersgamers. There is one difference.
MS publishe their games on 4/5 platforms like console, PC, cloud, Steam, mobile and Sony... Well only on PS until few last releases on PC.
With MS games you use what ever youve got (I assume you Got something more than PS) with Sony you have to have This console. Thats it.

  • +5
smroadkill15 LivncA_Dis3 (on 19 January 2022)

If you payed attention to what Xbox has been doing since 2018, you would see the organic growth within all the studios they have acquired. They let the developers make what they want and give them whatever they need to thrive.
There isn't one right way to do acquisitions.

  • +4
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