Microsoft is bullish about the Activision Blizzard deal being approved, calls out Sony
"So if this is about competition, let us have competition."
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Activision Blizzard deal
💰 Microsoft has said it’s confident its $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard will go through
🧐 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggested Microsoft is the 4th or 5th competitor in the video games industry
💴 Nadella also noted that Sony had made several acquisitions recently, including Bungie
👊 Microsoft’s CEO said, “If this is about competition, let us have competition.”
Microsoft’s CEO has spoken out about the company’s pending $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is currently being heavily scrutinized by competition regulators.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced that it was moving into a more in-depth investigation of the proposed takeover amid concerns that “Microsoft’s anticipated purchase of Activision Blizzard could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.”
However, Satya Nadella told Bloomberg that he isn’t too worried about the regulatory bodies that are expressing concern. “Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny. But we feel very, very confident that we’ll come out.”
Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar deal has been opposed by Sony. The Japanese company has made it abundantly clear that it really doesn’t want Microsoft to own Call of Duty. Sony believes that owning a franchise like Call of Duty would give Xbox an unfair advantage in the console space and suggested it might make the blockbuster shooter exclusive to Xbox consoles and PC.
However, Microsoft has repeatedly reassured Sony that it’s not planning to take Call of Duty away from PlayStation and that the popular FPS would continue to release on PS4 and PS5 for at least the next three years—a promise that Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan called “inadequate on many levels.”
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan said:
“Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends. After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers. We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.”
Satya Nadella doesn’t share Ryan’s viewpoint, though, and has suggested that the regulators who are hesitant to approve the deal would actually stifle competition.
Nadella pointed out that Sony is the market leader in the video games industry by some margin, and in comparison, Microsoft is about the 4th or 5th biggest player in the space. “The number one player, in this case, Sony, I think even in this period has acquired three companies. So if this is about competition, let us have competition,” said Microsoft’s CEO.
Sony has snapped up several studios in recent years, including Demon’s Souls remake developer Bluepoint Games, Destiny creator Bungie, Returnal developer Housemarque, Assassin’s Creed co-creator Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios, as well as Nixxes Software, Firesprite, and mobile game developers Savage Game Studios and Valkyrie Entertainment.
If the regulators approve the Activision Blizzard deal, it’s expected to be approved by Summer 2023. Once that happens, Microsoft has promised that games like Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch will come to Xbox Game Pass.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.