The Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, is confident that the company’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard would be blocked and has stated that “if this is about competition, let us have competition.”
“Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny,” Nadella says in an interview with Bloomberg. “But we feel very, very confident that we’ll come out on top.”
Concerns have been raised, most notably by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom, over the possibility that the merger will have a negative impact on overall levels of competition in the gaming industry. On the other hand, Nadella brings up the fact that Sony, Microsoft’s primary rival, has also bought studios, including significant ones such as Bungie.
Then, if this is about competitiveness, let us have competition, argues Nadella.
Concerns over the anti-competitive potential of the merger revolve around the possibility that franchises like Call of Duty could become exclusive to platforms developed by Microsoft. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has already confirmed that he would like to keep Call of Duty as a multiplatform franchise for the foreseeable future. However, he would like to add the franchise’s titles to Xbox Game Pass in order to make it accessible to Xbox customers in a variety of different ways.
The Chief Executive Officer of PlayStation, Jim Ryan, criticised Xbox’s promise to extend the availability of Call of Duty on PlayStation for only three extra years after the contracts that are now in place expire, calling it “inadequate.”
Other businesses, such as Electronic Arts, believe that a successful merger might open up new chances for their own franchises if the two companies are able to work together successfully. According to the company’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, the multiplatform nature of the Battlefield series might stand to benefit from the possibility of Call of Duty becoming an exclusive Microsoft property.
Sony is closing its failed PlayStation Mobile platform
PlayStation Mobile, Sony’s plan to build a store for indie games and PlayStation classics that could be played on both the PS Vita handheld and some Android phones, is coming to an end. After July 15, no more content will be added, and after September 10, you won’t even be able to re-download games you’ve bought before. Last year, Sony stopped supporting the Android side of the platform.
PlayStation Mobile never really caught on, but its closure could make the Vita less appealing to independent indie developers, even though Sony has been doing a good job of putting indie games on the regular PlayStation Store in recent years. Still, the project’s failure shows that Sony can’t bring together in a meaningful way its failing mobile business and its booming PlayStation business.
The video game developer Housemarque, Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios, the Demon’s Souls remake developer Bluepoint, the PC port specialist Nixxes Software, the UK studio Firesprite, the mobile game developer Savage Game Studios, Valkyrie Entertainment, and perhaps most notably, the Destiny studio Bungie have all been acquired by Sony in the past year. In spite of this, business attorney and well-known host of the video game industry legal podcast Virtual Legality Richard Hoeg remarked in response to Nadella’s comments that “it’s plausible that you could fit every acquisition in the history of gaming within the scale of the ABK deal.”
While the regulatory investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition is still ongoing, you can expect lots more back and forth. It is anticipated that the deal will be sanctioned by the time summer rolls around the following year.
The transaction, which is valued at close to $70 billion, is by far the largest gaming buyout of its kind and is currently being investigated by authorities all over the world. Investigations of the proposed business transaction are currently being carried out in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA), Brazil, and others; a decision about the matter is not expected for at least a few months.