ShinyShiny snippets: Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard in $69bn deal

Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy the troubled Call of Duty and Candy Crush gaming firm Activision Blizzard for $68.7bn (£50.5bn). The all-cash takeover will give the Xbox maker a leap into the mobile gaming sphere and “play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” according to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella. The deal – if approved by regulators – would make Microsoft the third-largest gaming firm in the world by revenue. Says Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, in a blog post: “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.” Tech Digest 

The chief executives of several major American passenger and cargo airlines have warned of an impending “catastrophic” crisis that could come in less than two days when telecommunications companies deploy a new 5G service. The new C-Band 5G service, set to be rolled out by AT&T and Verizon in the US on Wednesday, could leave a significant number of widebody aircraft unusable, the airlines warned. It could also “potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas” and cause “chaos” for US flights, they said. Sky News 

Image: Wayve

A British start-up is preparing to make driverless food deliveries for Ocado and Asda this year after raising $200m (£147m) from investors including Sir Richard Branson. Wayve’s fundraising, which also included investment from Microsoft and Baillie Gifford, brings its total backing to $258m, making it Britain’s best-funded start-up developing autonomous vehicles. Alex Kendall, the company’s 29-year-old founder, said Wayve planned to start deploying self-driving electric delivery vans around London under tests with Ocado and Asda. It signed deals with the two grocers last year to start testing deliveries, which will feature a safety driver in the van. Telegraph 

A new government-backed campaign is calling on tech giants to stop rolling out end-to-end-encryption (E2EE). Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal already use E2EE, and Meta plans to deploy it in Facebook Messenger, but the No Place to Hide campaign says it makes it harder to detect child abuse. When messages are sent using E2EE, only the sender and receiver can read them, not law enforcement or the app owners. However, Meta believes it can protect children without altering encryption. Launching the campaign on Tuesday, a spokesperson said that rolling out E2EE would be “like turning the lights off on the ability to identify child sex abusers online”. BBC 

Image: WB Games

It was already pushed back once, but rumours suggest Hogwarts Legacy’s development woes are still ongoing. Alongside Gotham Knights, Hogwarts Legacy was meant to be one of Warner Bros.’ big game releases for 2021, but both wound up being delayed to 2022. While Gotham Knights appears to be on track to launch this year, insider Colin Moriarty believes Hogwarts Legacy won’t make its 2022 launch window, suggesting it could be delayed until 2023 at the earliest. Speaking on his Patreon exclusive Sacred Symbols+ podcast (transcribed by VGC), he says ‘I’m hearing behind the scenes that game is not coming out this year, and that it’s in some sort of trouble.’ Metro

Microsoft has started testing some deeper YouTube integration in its Edge browser. The latest Canary developer builds of Edge include a new “followable web” feature that lets you easily follow your favorite content creators on YouTube. Reddit user Leopeva64 spotted a new YouTube follow button that appears in the address bar of YouTube pages. Following creators will add them to a feed that’s part of the Collections feature in Edge. The feature is clearly in the early preview stages, and it doesn’t support all YouTube content creators just yet. The feed that’s created in Collections lets you see recent posts from creators that you follow. The Verge 


Chris Price