Microsoft and Sony they keep exchanging blows while regulators weigh their final decision on the purchase of Activision Blizzard. And the most recent revelations come from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has published documents from both companies related to the concessions to be made to close the deal. However, the Japanese are not budging from their drastic stance: that Microsoft sells call of dutyor that the transaction valued at 68,700 million dollars is blocked.
Specifically, the CMA has published the responses that both Microsoft and Sony have made to the authorities’ request for possible concessions. Both files are widely redacted, as they include sensitive — and confidential — details related to their respective businesses. Despite this, it is quite easy to follow the thread of what the corporations that manage Xbox and PlayStation, respectively, propose.
It is worth clarifying that, although the documents were released today, they date from February 22. In the case of Microsoft, the company once again insists that the purchase of Activision Blizzard it is not anti-competitive, but it would be beneficial for the video game industry. And use as examples the agreements with Nintendo to carry call of duty to the Switch for 10 years, and with NVIDIA to publish Xbox games for PC on GeForce Now. Coincidentally (and not so much), both alliances were disclosed one day before the document was prepared, on February 21.
While in terms of their relationship with Sony, those from Redmond once again insisted that they intend to extend the presence of call of duty on playstation for 10 years. And they assured that said agreement applies both to games already released on PS4 and PS5, as well as to those that will arrive in the future, even to the next Japanese console. But not only that, but they are committed to launching it on the same terms as on Xbox and PC, and include upcoming deliveries of the shooter from day one on PlayStation Plus.
Sony does not accept Microsoft’s proposals for call of duty
Beyond what is proposed by Microsoft, Sony remains firm in its position. Those of Jim Ryan agree with the CMA’s preliminary conclusions that the purchase of Activision Blizzard may be harmful to competition. Therefore, they consider that the concessions that the Redmonds say they are willing to make are not enough. The only exits that the Japanese contemplate as feasible are two: the prohibition of the agreement, or the taking of structural measures. Basically, what PlayStation is demanding is that Xbox sell call of duty or that the CMA blocks the purchase of Activision Blizzard altogether.
“To address the competitive damage done to consoles and cloud gaming, the transaction must be prohibited or subject to a structural concession. Sony Interactive Entertainment is extremely skeptical that a deal with Microsoft can be reached, let alone effectively monitor and enforce it. As a result, the CMA should not accept a behavioral compromise that was designed to form the basis of an agreement between Microsoft and SIE, because there is no realistic prospect of such an agreement being reached that would maintain effective competition. More generally, behavioral remedies are not appropriate for this case because of the advantage they would give Microsoft over PlayStation and the difficulty the CMA would have in specifying, monitoring, policing and enforcing any behavioral commitments.”
Sony, regarding Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard.
It is clear that the discussions for the future of Activision Blizzard and, more specifically, call of dutyThey are entering a decisive stage. In the last days, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, assured that his intention is “to release the best version of the game on all platforms.” While Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, recently said that he travels everywhere with a copy of the 10-year contract with Sony, as a sign of goodwill to sign the agreement.
It is clear that Sony plans to spend all available cartridges to prevent the purchase of Activision Blizzard from taking place. Although, however drastic your position may be, there is no guarantee that it will be successful.. Let’s remember that the European Commission would be willing to give the green light to the acquisition, and this could be a hard blow for the Asians. The regulators of the European Union will publish their decision on April 25, while the CMA will do the same a day later. It will remain to be seen, then, what will happen to the US FTC.