Microsoft claims its Activision Blizzard deal as British regulator cites in-depth review

Microsoft is publicly asking to go ahead with the Activision Blizzard deal, just as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has expressed concerns. Microsoft surprised the gaming world earlier this year with its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion, the largest ever in the gaming industry. Now regulators are starting to take notice.

The UK’s CMA says it is “concerned that Microsoft’s expected purchase of Activision Blizzard could significantly reduce competition in game consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.” After the initial research phase, the CMA says it will move into what it calls a Phase 2 investigation if Microsoft cannot respond to its concerns within five business days.

A phase two investigation will see an independent panel examine the Microsoft deal in more detail and whether control over games like Call of duty And the world of cans It will hurt competitors. In response, Microsoft Gaming CEO and President of Xbox Phil Spencer clarified Microsoft’s position in today’s blog post.

Call of duty It will remain on PlayStation.
Photo: Activision Blizzard

Detailing Microsoft’s plans for games that go beyond just Xbox consoles, Spencer says the company will follow an “initial path” in its approach to Xbox Game Pass and Call of duty. Microsoft says it will Note and watchAnd the DiabloAnd the Call of duty All available on Xbox Game Pass but doesn’t block games like Call of duty from being available on PlayStation.

“We’ve heard that this deal may require perks like Call of duty away from where people are currently playing,” says Spencer. “That’s why, as we’ve said before, we’re committed to making the same version of Call of duty Available on PlayStation the same day the game launches elsewhere.”

Spencer likens Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal to the company’s $2.5 billion acquisition of Maine Craft. “We know the players benefit from this approach because we did it Maine Craftwhich is still available on multiple platforms and has expanded even further since Mojang joined Microsoft in 2014, says Spencer.

Note and watchAnd the DiabloAnd the Call of duty They will all be on Xbox Game Pass.
Photo: Microsoft

Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Vice President, is more direct about Call of duty Situation. “We are ready to work with the CMA on next steps and to address any of its concerns. As the industry leader, Sony says it is concerned about this. Call of duty, but we said we’re committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less.”

Microsoft has also previously argued not to distribute games like Call of duty In competing console stores, the company “simply will not be profitable”. In documents submitted to the CADE regulator, the company says that its strategy of not distributing Activision Blizzard games to competing consoles will only be profitable if the games can attract a large number of players to the Xbox ecosystem, resulting in Revenue to offset losses from not selling these titles on competing consoles.

While the FTC, CMA and European Commission are still analyzing the Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal, Saudi Arabia becomes the first country Approval of the takeover last month. It is my understanding that Microsoft still expects the entire transaction to be completed in the spring of 2023, with many months to go for competitors to voice their concerns, and Microsoft discussing to defend this giant acquisition. Spencer says he’s open and ready for the upcoming comprehensive reviews:

“We will continue to engage with regulators in a spirit of transparency and openness as we review this acquisition. We respect and welcome the challenging questions that are being asked. Today’s gaming industry is strong and dynamic. Industry leaders, including Tencent and Sony, continue to expand their deep and comprehensive libraries of games as well as entertainment brands and franchises. Others, which are enjoyed by gamers everywhere. We believe a comprehensive review will show that the combination of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will benefit the industry and gamers.”

Update, September 1st at 8:35 a.m. ETThis article has been updated with a statement from Microsoft President Brad Smith.

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