Activisionâ€™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.
Parris Lilly, a video game streamer and co-host at Gamertag Radio, said Microsoftâ€™s deal to buy Activision would not only help Xbox Game Pass, Microsoftâ€™s video game subscription service, but also let Activisionâ€™s developers step off the treadmill. Microsoftâ€™s purchase might permit developers to â€œtake a well needed breakâ€ so they can improve games over time, rather than update them so frequently, Mr. Lilly said.
He added that the acquisition could be an opportunity to fix Activisionâ€™s workplace issues under Mr. Kotick. Mr. Kotick declined to say in an interview if he would remain chief executive after the deal closed. The expectation is that he will step down, though he could move into an advisory role, people with knowledge of his plans have said.
Several gamers said the deal also had the potential to transform competitive video gaming leagues â€” known as e-sports â€” that are dedicated to Activision games like Overwatch and Call of Duty: Warzone. Such leagues, in many playersâ€™ eyes, have languished under Activisionâ€™s stewardship. Microsoft has seen success with its game Halo, which is played competitively.
Many gamers also said they couldnâ€™t care less about Microsoftâ€™s framing of the deal as a way to strengthen its footing in the metaverse. They said the metaverse seemed like a far-off idea, whereas the deal had the potential to improve Activisionâ€™s games and workplace immediately.
â€œIn all honesty, I donâ€™t really know much about the metaverse and all of that,â€ Mr. Bienusa said.
Chris Nobriga, 28, from San Jose, Calif., said he had spent over 11,000 hours playing World of Warcraft, an online role-playing game, over the past decade, after watching his brother play sparked his interest.
But although he kept playing, he said, his views on the game changed over time as popular developers left Activision and the company reused in-game systems.