Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard Inc., the Santa Monica-based company whose produced franchise properties range from Tony Hawk at Call of Duty.

As announced on Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal valued at $68.7 billion. Upon the expected closing of this transaction, according to the company, Microsoft will become the third largest gaming company in the world behind Tencent and Sony.

“Gaming is the fastest growing and most exciting entertainment category on any platform today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” ​​Microsoft CEO and President Satya Nadella said in a statement. release shared on Tuesday. “We are investing deeply in world-class content, community and cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

Last August, J. Allen Brack, then president of Activision’s Blizzard Entertainment, was announced that he was leaving the company following the filing of a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit in California.

In a letter shared with employees at the time, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick – who continues to serve – thanked those who came forward and said the company would take “swift action.” to be the compassionate and caring company you came to.” work for and ensure a safe environment.

Also last year, to protest the layoffs, hundreds of Activision Blizzard workers joined a virtual strike that included multiple studios and teams.

After the deal with Microsoft closes, Activision Blizzard will begin reporting to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, who said Tuesday that the company will offer “as many Activision Blizzard games as possible” through Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. during said closing.

“We are incredibly thrilled to have the chance to work with incredible, talented and dedicated people from 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, Treyarch, and all of the Activision Blizzard teams,” Spencer said.

According to a press release, the deal (already approved by the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard boards) is expected to close in fiscal year 2023.