The controversial Microsoft Activision-Blizzard deal is expected to pass, but not without further concessions on Microsoft’s part.
At least, that’s what analyst Pierce Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis thinks. Every new year, GamesIndustry.biz asks several well-known industry analysts to share their predictions for the year ahead, and one of the most significant predictions comes from Harding-Rolls.
The elephant in the room? Apparently, the planned merger between Microsoft and publisher Activision-Blizzard, has been the talk of the town for some time now. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Microsoft to block the deal, and recent reports claim that Microsoft is willing to make concessions to shorten the regulatory process and complete the deal.
These rumored disclaimers are expected to be key to sealing the deal, as Harding-Rolls outlined in his prediction for the year.
The analyst wrote: “Will Microsoft’s deal with Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait go ahead?” “Yes, but with more compromises. These could focus on Game Pass’s inclusion of games and availability of titles on other services. I think there’s more chance of closing the deal with franchises than stopping it.”
As for when the merger ends – it depends on whether the case ends up in court. If this is indeed the case, the deal may not be completed before the second half of 2023.
“When will the deal close? It could run into the second half of 2023 especially if the FTC case goes to court. If Microsoft agrees to waivers and avoids court, the first half of 2023 is possible.”
The analyst also had something to say about Microsoft and Sony’s subscription services with him predicting that Xbox Game Pass will grow significantly this year.
“The largest game subscription services failed to meet their growth targets in 2022, but I think there is reason to be positive in 2023. I expect Game Pass to grow exponentially in 2023 on the back of highly anticipated first-party games entering the service. If it is done Going forward with the ABK deal, expect to see more mobile games on Game Pass. I also expect Sony to secure more of its third-party releases on Day 1 of PS Plus Extra and Premium and that will help drive adoption.”
Interesting predictions though it should be noted that they are only predictions. On the other hand, a lot of Harding Rolls’ predictions for 2022 turned out to be correct.