Game developer

Microsoft buys owner of Middleton-based video game developer for $68.7 billion | Economic news

Tech giant Microsoft acquired a California-based video game developer ActivisionBlizzard – parent company of Middleton’s Raven Software – for $68.7 billion.

Launched in 1990, Raven Software creates several video games under Activision Blizzard, including the successful Call of Duty franchise. Activision Blizzard bought Raven Software, which today has a few hundred employees, in 1997 for $12 million.

Once the deal is done in 2023, it will become Microsoft – maker of the Xbox gaming system — into one of the largest video game companies in the world. And if the purchase “survives the scrutiny of US and European regulators in the coming months, it could be one of the biggest tech acquisitions in history,” according to a Tuesday. Associated Press report.

People also read…

Computer maker Dell previously bought data storage company EMC in 2016 for $60 billion, the report said.

The acquisition will also help Microsoft compete with rivals like Metaformerly known as Facebook, in creating “immersive virtual worlds for work and play”, as well as “pushing the tech giant beyond nintendo as the third-largest video game company,” the report said.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to retain his role, according to the Associated Press report.

Activision Blizzard did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on the specific impact of the agreement on Raven Software employees, products and services.

Microsoft told The Associated Press that Kotick and his team will focus on accelerating Activision’s growth and strengthening the company culture.

The acquisition comes as Activision revealed in 2021 that it was probe speak Security and Exchange Commission on complaints of discrimination in the workplace, and the claims settled in September filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Activision reached an agreement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle the claims after a three-year investigation. The agency said Activision failed to take effective action following complaints from employees of sexual harassment, as well as retaliation and discrimination against pregnant staff members.

the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision in July 2021 for similar complaints.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addressed the issue during a conference call with investors on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press article.

“Our organization’s culture is our (number one) priority,” she said on the call.

Ongoing online walkouts

The Microsoft deal also comes after Activision Blizzard told 12 Raven Software quality assurance testers – employees who play video games to check for technical issues – last fall that their contracts would expire on January 28, a group known as the ABK (Activision Blizzard King) Workers Alliance said in December.

The alliance includes Activision employees, as well as affiliates, who are demanding better working conditions following complaints of discrimination and harassment. king gamesbased in Sweden, is a key division of Activision Blizzard, producing mobile games such as the popular “Candy Crush”.

The layoffs came as workers heard “repeatedly” that “positive departmental changes” would come earlier in the year, the alliance said.

But a contractor, unlike a full-time employee, can be hired for a predetermined period, and for specific projects. And in the state of Wisconsin, any employee of a company is “at will,” which means either the staff member or the workplace can end an employment relationship at any time.

In early December, hundreds of Raven Software employees staged online walkouts to protest the Activision layoffs.

They sent email notifications to managers that they were out of the office, demanding the rehiring of any employees whose contracts were not renewed in return.

“News of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision is surprising, but does not change the goals of the ABK Worker’s Alliance,” the alliance said in a Twitter post. statement Tuesday, adding that the Raven walkouts have entered their fifth week and staff have “still not received a response from management regarding our request for negotiation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.