Sony is disrupting Microsoft-Activision deal to 'make Xbox smaller', says Xbox boss
Phil Spencer has weighted in again about the controversial deal
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Activision buyout snags
🗣 Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has spoken about Sony’s opposition to the Microsoft-Activision
😮 He suggested Sony’s plan for growth is only to make “Xbox smaller”
🧨 As the leading opposer to the deal, Sony has deliberately directed attention to the question of Call of Duty exclusivity, according to Spencer
⛔ The FTC recently sued Microsoft to block the acquisition
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has spoken about Sony’s opposition to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, claiming the PlayStation maker’s plans for the future amount to little more than stymying the size of Xbox.
"Sony is trying to protect its dominance on the console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller," Spencer said on the Second Request, after claiming Sony was the “only major opposer to the deal”.
"[Sony] has a very different view of the industry than we do. They don't ship their games day and date on PC, they do not put their games into their subscription when they launch their games,” Spencer added.
Since Microsoft announced its intention of buying Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion, regulators and Sony have focused on the future of Call of Duty. They fear Microsoft will make the mammoth franchise exclusive to Xbox consoles, or introduce other, more subtle restrictions to encourage the sale of Call of Duty games on Xbox consoles over PlayStation platforms.
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“Because Sony is leading the dialogue around why the deal shouldn’t go through to protect its dominant position on console, the thing they grab onto is Call of Duty,” Spencer said.
“Now we’re kind of getting slow-rolled on the negotiation because [Call of Duty’s exclusivity] has become good fodder for the regulators to discuss.
“I find it challenging that the largest console maker in the world is raising an objection about one franchise that we’ve said will continue to ship on the platform.”
Spencer and Microsoft have repeatedly denied the series will become an Xbox exclusive, and recently committed to bringing the franchise back to Nintendo consoles, should the deal pass. That would bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch for the very first time.
But the acquisition is no sure thing. The FTC, the US’s markets regulator, recently sued to block the deal, starting formal judicial proceedings that could stop its closing. It came as little surprise, as the FTC looked set to block the deal, although a fresh rumor hinted the commission was split on the issue.
The deal still has to undergo scrutiny from antitrust regulators in other countries, including the EU and UK. Recent rumors suggest Microsoft is preparing to offer concessions to have it passed in the EU, although Activision Blizzard is confident the deal will successfully close.