What you need to know
- Microsoft is currently working to acquire Activision Blizzard, a deal worth almost $69 billion.
- Sony previously shared concerns it has over the acquisition with the Administrative Council for Economic Defense in Brazil.
- Microsoft responded to these concerns, claiming that Sony is pushing back against the possibility of increased competition.
As Microsoft works to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company is fielding questions from numerous regulators and agencies. As part of its responses, it's addressing concerns and pushed back against the idea that the acquisition will reduce competition.
PlayStation parent company Sony previously noted concerns that Microsoft owning Call of Duty could allow it to influence players' choice of console. Now, Microsoft has filed (opens in new tab) an in-depth response with the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) in Brazil, detailing why it believes Sony is objecting, why it claims there are no anti-competitive concerns, and that acquisition should be approved.
As translated by ResetEra user Idas (opens in new tab) (the original filing is in Portuguese, so some nuances may not carry over completely) Microsoft pointed out that of all the companies polled by CADE — including Amazon, Apple, Google, Ubisoft, and Riot Games — only Sony raised concerns about the acquisition. While multiple points of sensitive data are redacted, Microsoft notes that Sony is the market leader in digital sales, and that Sony sold over twice as many consoles as Microsoft in the prior console generation.
Microsoft states that Sony, being the market leader, is pushing back against the increase in competition that the acquisition would provide, and does not want subscription services like Xbox Game Pass to "threaten its dominance," pointing to how Sony pays other gaming companies for "blocking rights" in order to prevent games from coming to Xbox Game Pass.
Further discussing Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft states that Sony's claims of Call of Duty being essential are contradictory, as up until now, there have been no Activision Blizzard games included in Xbox Game Pass, which was first introduced in 2017. Since then, the service has grown to over 25 million subscribers as of January 2022, something that Microsoft notes did not require Activision Blizzard titles like Call of Duty.
Despite this, Microsoft does make mention of how Sony regularly pays for exclusivity on third-party games, in addition to its exclusive content developed from the first-party group at PlayStation Studios.
Microsoft also reiterates its intent to keep Call of Duty and other "popular Activision Blizzard franchises" on PlayStation consoles, something first mentioned by Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Microsoft president Brad Smith shortly after the deal was first announced.
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