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In brief: It's no secret that Sony is vehemently against Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, but how does the public feel about it? About three-quarters of people in the UK who commented on the merger are in favor of the Redmond firm buying the gaming giant.
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is one of the global monopoly watchdogs that is still investigating the $68.7 billion Microsoft/Activision Blizzard deal. The agency said in September that the merger could lead to competition concerns within the video game industry. This led to the CMA opening an extended stage 2 phase of its probe in which the acquisition faces increased scrutiny.
Part of the CMA inquiry involved collecting public comments over two weeks in October. The regulator has now revealed that it received around 2,600 emails, though about 500 were discounted because "they contained abusive content (with no other substantive content), or were blank, unintelligible, stated to be from non-UK consumers, or not in English."
Of the remaining 2,100 emails, around three-quarters were broadly in favor of the merger, and around a quarter were broadly against it.
Some of the views expressed in favor of the deal point out that Sony and Nintendo are stronger than Microsoft in console gaming, and the merger will help the Windows maker to compete more closely against them. This echoes Microsoft's own arguments for why the deal should go ahead.
Other pro-deal comments include claims that Microsoft would not make Activision games Xbox/PC exclusive as the company would lose significant revenue. Again, Microsoft has made this same argument to regulators.
"The Merger is a reaction to Sony's business model for PlayStation, which has historically involved securing exclusive content or early access to popular cross-platform gaming franchises, such as Final Fantasy and Silent Hill," wrote another pro-merger commentator.
Not everyone was in favor of the deal. Some of the 25% comments against it worried that it would set a harmful precedent in the gaming industry of acquiring large publishers rather than encouraging organic growth, which some would say is already the case.
Other anti-acquisition commentators say that despite promises otherwise, Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, just as it did with Bethesda after it acquired ZeniMax Media. It may also give Microsoft a total monopoly in the cloud gaming space it already dominates, preventing competitors from entering the market.
The CMA is scheduled to release its final report on the acquisition by March 1, 2023.
Although more of the UK public seems to favor the deal, Microsoft is facing a US lawsuit brought by ten gamers to block the acquisition over fears it will create a monopoly in the video game industry. The suit comes a couple of weeks after the FTC also sued Microsoft to stop the deal.