Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has delivered some strong words about rival Sony amid the battle over whether or not regulators will allow Microsoft’s bid for Activision Blizzard. He said in a second podcast request that Sony is trying to grow its business of making the Xbox smaller.
“There was really one major opponent to the deal, and that was Sony. Sony is trying to protect its console dominance. The way they’re growing is by making the Xbox smaller,” Spencer said. “They have a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games on the day and date on PC, they don’t put their games on subscription when they launch their games. They’re starting to think about mobile as I see from the outside, just reading some of the moves they’re making “.
Spencer went on to say that Sony’s acquisition of Call of Duty in its argument as to why it wouldn’t let the deal go through just didn’t make sense to him. Spencer said that Microsoft has said repeatedly that it will not take Call of Duty from PlayStation if it continues to be offered. In fact, Spencer said he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Sony the day it announced a deal to buy Activision Blizzard to say it intended to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation if the deal was accepted.
“But with Sony leading all the conversation about why this deal wasn’t done to protect its dominant position on the console, the thing they’re holding onto is Call of Duty,” he said.
Nintendo accepted Microsoft’s offer to put Call of Duty on Nintendo systems for 10 years, and Microsoft struck a deal that Valve agreed to for a future Call of Duty on PC as well (though Valve’s Gabe Newell said a formal contract wasn’t necessary). Spencer said Microsoft is now being swayed by Sony because of its ongoing negotiations. And why? It helps Sony’s position in theory because it’s “good fodder for regulators to discuss this,” Spencer said.
Spencer said Microsoft would not take Call of Duty from PlayStation because doing so would be a bad business decision. He said that the PlayStation is the most popular platform for the Call of Duty series consoles, and removing it from the system would result in the loss of “billions” in revenue. Spencer also reiterated that Call of Duty on PlayStation wouldn’t be a second-tier experience if its deal to buy Activision Blizzard went through, as Microsoft would launch the same version with the same features at the same time.
“The world’s largest console maker raises a protest against one franchise that we’ve said will continue to ship on the platform. It’s a deal that benefits customers through choice and access,” said Spencer.
Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard has already been approved in places like Serbia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, but the UK and US have yet to make a formal decision. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to hold a closed meeting today, December 8, to discuss the deal and possibly decide whether to file an antitrust lawsuit, it was reported.
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