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Microsoft has announced plans to acquire game development and interactive entertainment content publisher Activision Blizzard.

The $68.7 billion deal will make Microsoft the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

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The planned acquisition includes franchises such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush, in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the world with nearly 10,000 employees, Microsoft said in a release.

“Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog,” Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer said.

The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023. Xbox Game Pass alone has 25 million subscribers.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft.

“We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

For now, Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.