Call Of Duty is 'nothing unique' or a 'must have' says Microsoft
To ensure its Activision acquisition goes through, Microsoft has tried to downplay how significant the company’s games are.
It’s easy to forget that despite it being one of the biggest gaming news stories of all time Microsoft doesn’t actually own Activision yet.
The acquisition must first be approved by multiple regulatory bodies, to ensure it doesn’t violate antitrust laws or grant Microsoft a monopoly that’ll let it stifle the competition.
Microsoft is obviously eager to ensure that that doesn’t happen, and one way it’s doing that is by downplaying how popular Activision’s games, including Call Of Duty, are.
Specifically, it says that none of Activision’s games are ‘unique’ or a ‘must have.’ The idea of Microsoft dunking on the very games it wants to buy is pretty hilarious, not to mention extremely disingenuous.
After all, if these games aren’t that special, then Microsoft wouldn’t be trying to fork over £50 billion for them. As a reminder, this is the most expensive acquisition in the entire history of gaming (and Microsoft) and almost 10 times more than was paid for Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax.
‘With respect to Activision Blizzard video games, there is nothing unique about the 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,’ said the company.
This comes from a report published in June by the New Zealand Commerce Commission regarding the acquisition, but was only recently spotted by Rock Paper Shotgun.
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 Brazil’s regulatory body revealed that some companies like Ubisoft and Warner Bros. think the same thing, but Sony emphatically disagrees.
It believes that Call Of Duty is so popular that nothing else can hope to rival it and it can influence which platform its fans will choose to buy, suggesting that an Xbox only Call Of Duty would see PlayStation owners jump ship.
There are suspicions of Call Of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive once its deal with Sony expires, but Microsoft’s statement to the New Zealand Commerce Commission claims it will ‘continue to make Call of Duty and other popular Activision Blizzard titles available on PlayStation through the term of any existing agreement and beyond.’
Taken at face value, this mean it intends on keeping most Activision games multiplatform even after any marketing deals end. Although it leaves room for new IP, in particular, to be Xbox exclusive.
There’s also the issue that after buying Bethesda, Xbox box Phil Spencer said its future releases would come to other consoles on a ‘case-by-case basis,’ only to later admit the acquisition was made primarily to get more exclusives.
So far, all of Bethesda’s upcoming games, like Starfield and Redfall, are scheduled 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 the regulatory bodies. Analysts think the deal will be approved with little issue, but Wall Street investors have bet money on it either being blocked or being subjected to enough delays that Microsoft winds up abandoning it.
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