Microsoft says UK watchdog investigating Activision deal is being influenced by Sony

midian182

Posts: 8,493   +105
Staff member
In brief: The ongoing saga of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is showing no signs of ending soon. The latest spat involves the UK watchdog's investigation of the $69 billion deal, which Redmond says is being influenced by Sony.

Last month brought news that the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) feared that Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard could lead to competition concerns within the video game industry. The regulator said that if Microsoft didn't submit a proposal to assuage these worries, the CMA would open an extended stage 2 phase of its probe in which the acquisition would face increased scrutiny.

Microsoft decided not to offer any remedies to the CMA, leading to the phase 2 investigation. As Ars Technica notes, it could result in the merger being prohibited or a requirement to sell some parts of the business. The CMA today released the full text (PDF) of its decision, which has prompted a biting response from Microsoft in which it claims the regulator is relying "on self-serving statements by Sony" and has adopted its rival's complaints without the "appropriate level of critical review."

Sony's biggest issue with the Microsoft deal is Call of Duty's future. The Redmond firm says Sony is significantly exaggerating the series' importance, and losing a single franchise would not challenge the Japanese giant's dominance. It adds that making Call of Duty available on its Game Pass service doesn't guarantee it will sell more Xbox consoles. Xbox head Phil Spencer previously confirmed that Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Diablo would end up on Game Pass if the deal completes.

"While Sony may not welcome increased competition, it has the ability to adapt and compete. Gamers will ultimately benefit from this increased competition and choice," Microsoft said in its response. Sony says the deal is "bad for competition, bad for the gaming industry and bad for gamers themselves."

Microsoft had to defend the Activision Blizzard deal after Sony raised concerns over CoD in the past. The Windows maker promised that the next three games in the series, which includes CoD: Modern Warfare II, would be released on PlayStation, at which point Activision's contract with Sony ends. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called this proposal "inadequate on many levels."

As Microsoft must still appease regulators in other parts of the world in addition to the UK, Game Pass subscribers hoping to see CoD as part of their subscription might want to wait a while before getting too excited.

Permalink to story.

 

kira setsu

Posts: 449   +434
Sony just needs to shutup and start making a title that aims to beat CoD if theyre so damn angry about it.

they have some of the best game studios in the world under their banner and youre telling me they cant create something better than cod? Bungie is right there, I bet they'd gladly try to go against cod.
 

DSirius

Posts: 380   +801
TechSpot Elite
Better UK watchdog to investigate Microsoft being accomplice and trying to cover Activision charges of sexual harrasment and discriminations.
You know that Microsoft aquairing Activision will help Activision to stall or even evade most of Activision charges in californian court, and can walk away without making them accountable for their wrongdoings?
UK watchdogs so keep investigate both Microsoft and Activision.
 

dangh

Posts: 856   +1,450
Microsoft should simply buy all the IP's and studios without CoD IP (and maybe dedicated studios), and Sony would buy CoD for same they bought Bungie.

I wonder if they still be saying "importance of CoD is exaggerated". They will have everything else, so.... yeah, not gona happen as CoD is single most recognizable IP from Acti.

And no, there is no option to 'shut up and make competitor to google', or 'amazon', or 'facebook' and, yes, to CoD. You can't compete with decades old, well established IP which is synonym to FPS. Microsoft was trying as hard as possible to do it and they didn't success (just embarased themselves in process - latest Halo...). And - as usually in modern business - if they can't compete, they buy it to won over competition.

I'm happy to see Activision not being sold, because they will keep being competition to other big players. This will require everyone to actually work properly on other titles. I see no benefits for me as a player to have one company hoarding well established IPs and just release refreshed versions yearly, instead of creating new ones and being innovative. In no way I'm going to wish that a biggest company on the world known for predatory practices got hold on even stronger tools to enforce leverage ("wanna CoD on your platform? open it all to our services" kind of thing).
And I don't understand anyone who - for his internet tag ego - would believe big corpos is throwing money for his sake. No, they throw money, because they know they can squeeze even more after initial costs.
 

inhility

Posts: 42   +62
And when Sony acquires studios left and right like they had been doing for the last 2 years doesn't set a red flags?

Yeah the UK/European regulators are in Sony's pockets.
Nothing anywhere near as big as Activision. You are aware that MS has been acquiring studios left and right too right? You're not just siding with your favorite company (don't do this, they don't care about you)?
 

dangh

Posts: 856   +1,450
And when Sony acquires studios left and right like they had been doing for the last 2 years doesn't set a red flags?

Yeah the UK/European regulators are in Sony's pockets.
hmm? Did I said anything about studios?
Studios are people. This can be easily managed. There is a difference between getting a studio with single, small IP and then help it grow, and getting a publisher with dozens of top selling IP's and use it as leverage in exclusive brags.
Or maybe for you buying Housemarque is on same level as Activision? I know Alienation is a great title, but it is not exactly equal to Cod or Diablo, is it?
 

umbala

Posts: 797   +1,598
And when Sony acquires studios left and right like they had been doing for the last 2 years doesn't set a red flags?

Yeah the UK/European regulators are in Sony's pockets.
It's funny that Sony is worried that Microsoft will make CoD an exclusive title. Meanwhile, Sony is ALL ABOUT making certain titles exclusive to their consoles. They literally pay millions and in some cases tens of millions to makes sure other consoles don't get certain titles at launch (or at all) and they think this is perfectly normal when THEY do it, but if someone else does it then HOW DARE THEY!!
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,379   +668
Microsoft should simply buy all the IP's and studios without CoD IP (and maybe dedicated studios), and Sony would buy CoD for same they bought Bungie.

I wonder if they still be saying "importance of CoD is exaggerated". They will have everything else, so.... yeah, not gona happen as CoD is single most recognizable IP from Acti.

And no, there is no option to 'shut up and make competitor to google', or 'amazon', or 'facebook' and, yes, to CoD. You can't compete with decades old, well established IP which is synonym to FPS. Microsoft was trying as hard as possible to do it and they didn't success (just embarased themselves in process - latest Halo...). And - as usually in modern business - if they can't compete, they buy it to won over competition.

I'm happy to see Activision not being sold, because they will keep being competition to other big players. This will require everyone to actually work properly on other titles. I see no benefits for me as a player to have one company hoarding well established IPs and just release refreshed versions yearly, instead of creating new ones and being innovative. In no way I'm going to wish that a biggest company on the world known for predatory practices got hold on even stronger tools to enforce leverage ("wanna CoD on your platform? open it all to our services" kind of thing).
And I don't understand anyone who - for his internet tag ego - would believe big corpos is throwing money for his sake. No, they throw money, because they know they can squeeze even more after initial costs.
MS is buying Activision. The deal will proceed. May not happen as soon as people hoped. But it will happen. All of these things are normal for a big deal like this. Happens all the time. Most of the time it is just delaying the inevitable.
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,285   +1,242
I can't see Microsoft winning this one. COD has always been on most platforms, by moving it just to Xbox you isolate a massive portion of consumers who have invested in their preferred platform. The UK watchdog is strict because it believes in free markets, unlike the government who just say they do but really just want everything to go to their select mates for profit.