With the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority set to further review Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Sony appears to be trying to rhetorically sway the CMA’s final decision.
Last month, the CMA mentioned that if it didn’t get some quick reassurances from Microsoft, it would launch a secondary, deeper investigation into its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Beyond a promise from the head Xbox Phil Spencer to not only maintain current contracts in place with Sony, but supporting the platform for an extended period of time beyond, Microsoft felt there were few other commitments it could make to appease the CMA. Five days later, the CMA confirmed that it would push ahead with a deeper dive into the deal citing Call of Duty as a major point of contention.
Evidence consistently pointed towards ABK’s content, especially Call of Duty, as being important and capable of making a material difference to the success of rivals’ gaming platforms.
The CMA also makes clear it’s looking out for Sony’s investments in gaming by categorically referencing the company in its report with the following, “in the short-to-medium-term, the main rival that could be affected by this conduct would be Sony.”
The CMA seems less interested in how the deal would affect Nintendo.
With the CMA taking a deeper look into the Microsoft and Activision deal, Sony has once again chimed in and said it “welcomes the announcement,” and that “by giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry,” when speaking with GameIndustry.biz.
Despite Sony’s preemptive applause of the continued CMA investigation into the Activision deal, both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick expect the acquisition to be approved on scheduled and issued the following statement,
As we said from the outset, this is a long process. With the number of government approvals required, we still believe the deal is most likely to close in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending June of next year. We are fortunate to have already received approvals from a couple of countries, and the process with all of the regulators is generally moving along as we expected.
Kotick did note however, he believes that CMA is being a bit aggressive with its take on antitrust protections in this instance, “especially in respect of suggesting the separating out of subscription and cloud services into their own markets.” Microsoft president Brad Smith was a bit more diplomatic saying, “We’re ready to work with the CMA on next steps and address any of its concerns. Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are 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.”