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What franchises does Microsoft gain in the Activision Blizzard takeover?

Franchises that Microsoft will gain from the Activision takeover
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is undoubtedly one of the biggest company moves in video games, ever. This is a paradigm shift for the entire industry, and Microsoft has just become magnitudes bigger than it was previously in the entertainment space and it already was one of the biggest out there. 

However, the real question many consumers will have is, what does this mean for their favorite games, and what has Microsoft actually bought? How deep does the Activision library go? Well, it's further than you might think.

While many think of Blizzard games and Call of Duty when they think of Activision Blizzard, its library runs deeper than that. There are, of course, those massive franchises, as well as more supportive franchises. 

There are also some forgotten gems potentially waiting to be resurrected if Microsoft ever found a need for them. So here is everything Microsoft is now set to own. 

What franchises is Microsoft set to own after buying Activision Blizzard?

Call of Duty

Call of Duty Vanguard Operators

Call of Duty remains one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world. (Image credit: Activision)

It's wild to think 'Microsoft's Call of Duty', but that looks like it's going to be the case. The franchise needs no introduction and is one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the entire world. The franchise's worth to the Microsoft portfolio is obvious, and having a crown jewel like this under the Xbox brand is seismic.

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga on mobile

Candy Crush is a major player in this deal. (Image credit: Pixabay)

While traditional gamers may not consider Candy Crush and its many spin-offs in an acquisition like this, it is undoubtedly a major player. King and its portfolio make a lot of money and have a premier spot in the enormous mobile market. Microsoft just bought itself into one of the biggest franchises in the space.

Warcraft

an orc and human face off

Warcraft retains an unbeatable legacy. (Image credit: Blizzard)

World of Warcraft, despite recent wobbles, is a brand with an enormous legacy. It can even be argued, it's the biggest fantasy franchise ever in games. The second closest would be Elder Scrolls… which Microsoft also owns. Many might hope Microsoft can right the ship of the faltering legend.

Overwatch

Overwatch

Despite delays, remains for massive for Overwatch 2 (Image credit: Blizzard)

While it has been in uncertain waters over the last few years, Overwatch still retains an enormous player base. It's no secret that Overwatch 2 has had a troubled production, the game announced previously at BlizzCon 2019. However, it seems like the game might be ready to make moves soon, and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can help see it over the finish line.

Hearthstone

Warcraft characters in Hearthstone

Blizzard's card game is a big get for Microsoft (Image credit: Blizzard)

Hearthstone remains ever-popular and is the unassuming giant of the Blizzard portfolio. The card game remains healthy and is producing content. Microsoft has itself a great and potentially lucrative live service to add to the books.

Diablo

Diablo 4

Diablo 4 could be a one of the first Microsoft published Blizzard games. (Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4 is going to have an interesting place when it comes to this deal. It's expected to be on the horizon, but it's also not clear if that would be before or after the proposed deal is complete in 2023. There’s a real chance this could be the first game under the Microsoft Studios banner. Regardless, Microsoft is picking up one of the franchise's with the most legacy in the medium.

Guitar Hero

a guitar hero track

could there be a return for the dormant franchise? (Image credit: Activision)

Guitar Hero's cultural cache in 2022 might seem to be… well, non-existent. Interestingly though the franchise was called out by name in a press release about the announcement. Is it a sign of things to come? A return of guitar peripherals? It's certainly a possibility.

StarCraft

a human soldier from Starcraft

StarCraft is a big universe that Microsoft could play in.  (Image credit: Blizzard)

StarCraft is the major Blizzard franchises that is currently the most in the background with no upcoming release or active development reported. However, its legacy is undeniable, and it remains a titan in the RTS space. Microsoft having access to the universe opens up a lot of fascinating opportunities.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Riley Hawk

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has a massive cultural cache (Image credit: Activision)

The king of the skateboard game has had a somewhat shaky record in recent years, but that did look to turn around with the excellent Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 from 2020. It would be fascinating to see Microsoft forge ahead and use that momentum to return the game to its former throne.

Crash Bandicoot

cheap PS5 game deals sales

It will always be weird to see Microsoft's Crash Bandicoot. (Image credit: Activision)

Now, this is a weird one. Crash Bandicoot is now a Microsoft character. This would have been sacrilegious to think at one point, yet here was are. Crash Bandicoot has had a fairly great resurgence in recent years, and Microsoft can now enjoy his new relevance if they wish to go down those roads.

Spyro the Dragon

spyro reignited trilogy prices ps4 xbox one

Another once PlayStation icon under the Xbox wing (Image credit: Activision)

Similar to Crash, Spyro the Dragon being a Microsoft mascot now is going to take some time to get used to. Also like Crash Bandicoot, he's enjoyed a recent resurgence off the back of some well-received remasters and is ready for Microsoft to use if they ever so wish.

Smaller franchises Activision owns

Those are all the major players, however, the Xbox brand isn't immune from reaching back in the history books and updating a forgotten franchise. Does Activision potentially have a Phantom Dust in its catalog... that actually, you know, could come out this time? 

Geometry Wars - The bullet hell shooter is one of the best at doing what it does. Not impossible to see Microsoft sinking its teeth into it.

King's Quest - A classic, though dated fantasy series. Saw a revival in 2015, so has some modern relevance.

Heroes of the Storm - Blizzard's moba was left out dry years ago, although it has seen a community resurgence with a dedicated player base keeping it alive.

The Lost Vikings - One of Blizzard's first-ever games. It's usually only used as a reference in modern titles, but who knows if The Lost Vikings 3 could ever come out.

Rock-N-Roll Racing - Blizzard's arcade racer from the 90s brought vehicular combat to the front. 

Prototype - Many might not remember the fairly mediocre open-world game, but it could be a franchise that could thrive with a serious Microsoft push.

Zork - One of the oldest games in Activision's catalog, the fantasy text adventure would be a surprise to see back, but fascinating to see.

Gun - If Microsoft ever wants an in-house Western to rival Red Dead Redemption 2, they now have a franchise they can tie it to.

True Crime - Like Gun, if Microsoft ever wanted to rival GTA, True Crime could be an interesting avenue to pursue their own efforts. 

Skylanders - If for whatever reason, Microsoft wanted to get into the toys-to-life business again, there was a time when Skylanders reigned supreme. 

Patrick Dane
Patrick Dane

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.