It’s a big night for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard with the Competition and Markets Authority based out of the UK recommending that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard face a second phase of investigation.
This is due to the below reasons:
- The deal could see Microsoft “withholding or degrading” Activision Blizzard’s content from other consoles or subscription services
- Microsoft could leverage its broader ecosystem together with Activision’s catalogue to “raise barriers to entry and foreclose rivals in cloud gaming services”
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard now have until September 8th to offer substantial reasonings why these two things won’t be the case or it will face a second phase investigation in the UK. The acquisition has already reached a second phase investigation in the US Federal Trade Commission which could extend well into 2023.
Xbox has wasted absolutely no time with Phil Spencer publishing a blog post on the Microsoft Blog detailing how the acquisition will provide more access to these games rather than take it away from existing platforms.
You can read the full blog post HERE, but Phil Spencer confirms what has already been thought, that Call of Duty, Overwatch and Diablo will be available on Game Pass, and also giving access for gamers to play these games through Cloud gaming (on the likes of Samsung TVs), which Xbox believes will open these franchises to even more gamers.
Xbox also goes on to recommit the fact that it does not plan to take the likes of Call of Duty away from platforms such as PlayStation where it already exists. Interestingly, this time around, Spencer does not mention any contracts, simply stating that “we are committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere.” and then references Minecraft being a Microsoft property but remaining on all other consoles.
Interestingly, Call of Duty is the only franchise called out here. It’s unclear if that is due to the fact that Xbox only plans for this to remain on PlayStation, or if it’s just called out because it’s the largest and most mainstream franchise in the Activision Blizzard staple.
The blog post then goes onto detail that Xbox welcomes the hard questions being asked, but it believes that much like Sony and Tencent continue to expand their deep and extensive library of games, it believes that a thorough review will show that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard combining will benefit the industry and gamers.