To ensure that its acquisition of Activision goes through, Microsoft has tried to downplay the importance of the company’s games.
It’s easy to forget that despite being one of the biggest gaming news stories of all time, Microsoft doesn’t really Activision itself yet.
The acquisition must first be approved by various regulatory bodies, to make sure it doesn’t violate antitrust laws or give Microsoft a monopoly that allows it to stifle competition.
Microsoft is obviously keen to make sure that doesn’t happen, and one way to do that is by downplaying the popularity of Activision games, including Call Of Duty.
Specifically, it says that none of Activision’s games are ‘unique’ or ‘must have’. The idea of Microsoft dipping into the very games you want to buy is pretty hilarious, not to mention grossly untrue.
After all, if these games aren’t that special, then Microsoft wouldn’t be trying to shell out £50bn+ for them. As a reminder, this is the most expensive acquisition in all of gaming (and Microsoft) history and almost 10 times what was paid by Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax.
“With respect to Activision Blizzard video games, there is nothing unique about video games developed and published by Activision Blizzard that is a ‘must have’ for rival PC and console video game distributors that could give rise to a foreclosure concern,” the company said.
Basically, Microsoft is claiming that its ownership of franchises like Call Of Duty wouldn’t make it impossible for its rivals to compete against it.
A similar report from the Brazilian regulatory body revealed that some companies like Ubisoft and Warner Bros. think the same, but Sony strongly disagrees.
He believes that Call Of Duty is so popular that nothing else can compete with it and may influence which platform its fans will choose to buy from, suggesting that an Xbox-only Call Of Duty would cause PlayStation owners to jump ship.
There are suspicions that Call Of Duty will become an Xbox exclusive once its deal with Sony expires, but Microsoft’s statement to the New Zealand Trade Commission states that it will “continue to make Call of Duty and other popular Xbox titles Activision Blizzard are available on PlayStation until the end of any existing agreement and beyond.’
Taken at face value, this means that it intends to keep most of Activision’s games cross-platform even after marketing deals end. Though it does leave room for new IPs, in particular, to be Xbox exclusives.
There’s also the issue that, after buying Bethesda, the Xbox box, Phil Spencer said his future releases would come to other consoles on a “case by case” basis, only to later admit that the acquisition was done primarily to get more exclusives. .
So far, all of Bethesda’s upcoming games, like Starfield and Redfall, are slated for Xbox only, with no sign of any PlayStation or Nintendo Switch versions.
What ultimately matters is whether Microsoft’s arguments are enough to convince regulators. Analysts believe the deal will go through without a hitch, but Wall Street investors have bet money that it will be blocked or delayed long enough for Microsoft to eventually abandon it.
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