“New eyes”: Gamers greet Microsoft’s Activision deal with guarded optimism

By Erin Woo and Kellen Browning, The New York Times Company

When Drew Bienusa began playing Call of Duty, a first-person shooter game published by Activision Blizzard, he was immediately smitten. He loved how immersive having a digital avatar was, and the game was a favorite among his friends.

Bienusa was so dazzled that in 2016, he began livestreaming himself playing Call of Duty on the Twitch platform. He gave himself the gamer name Frozone and amassed 114,000 Twitch followers. In January, he became a professional Call of Duty: Warzone player for the esports organization XSET.

But by then, Bienusa’s feelings about Call of Duty had changed. Bugs in the game went unfixed for months, he said. Activision’s communications with competitive players fell off. And he was turned off by a recent sexual harassment lawsuit against the company that exposed its toxic workplace culture.

So on Tuesday, when Bienusa, 26, woke up to the news that Microsoft planned to buy Activision for nearly $70 billion, he was jubilant. “New eyes, new people, new owners, new management — it’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “It’s almost at a point where it can’t get worse.”

Bienusa was one of many gamers who expressed cautious optimism about the biggest-ever deal in the $175 billion games industry. The acquisition of Activision, if approved by regulators, will help bolster Microsoft’s video game ambitions with a library of popular titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot and Overwatch. Microsoft also positioned the deal as one that would help it delve into the futuristic digital world of the metaverse.

Yet ultimately, the deal’s success will hinge on how it is received by gamers. Historically, many players have expressed alarm about how acquisitions might affect the quality of online games. When Microsoft bought the maker of Minecraft in 2014, for instance, some gamers were concerned.

This time, the reaction has been more positive, partly because of how much Activision — with more than 400 million players worldwide — has appeared to stumble with its core users in recent years. In interviews, gamers said they saw Microsoft as a potential life raft for Activision Blizzard and as a welcome chance to bring new people into gaming.

In an email to employees, Activision’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, said the purpose of the deal was to continue strengthening Activision’s games and its company culture. Activision declined to comment further. Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Activision’s decline with gamers has unfolded over the last few years. Many said they had been down on the publisher for some time, concerned that Activision put too much pressure on some divisions — such as Blizzard, which it merged with in 2008 — to deliver frequent hits, rather than giving developers the time to create iconic games. Then last year, Activision became embroiled in a lawsuit over workplace harassment brought by a California employment agency, raising questions about its conduct.

Activision’s track record with some of its games also became spottier. In November, it delayed new versions of Diablo and Overwatch. That same month, the newly released Call of Duty: Vanguard was widely panned as being boring and full of glitches.

For all the latest Business News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TheDailyCheck is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected] The content will be deleted within 24 hours.