Sony continues to object to Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition, saying Microsoft will degrade Call of Duty on the PlayStation.
Sony has been fighting Microsoft’s $68.7 billion attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard, claiming the deal will give Microsoft too much power in the gaming market. Various jurisdictions have launched investigations or sued to block the deal, prompting Microsoft to make long-term commitments to keep CoD on competing consoles for no less than ten years.
While Microsoft’s overtures have been winning over regulators — with the EU signaling it will let the deal go through, and the UK indicating it no longer views the deal as a threat to the console market — Sony remains unconvinced. In fact, the company minced no words in its response to the decision of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority:
The CMA’s reversal of its position on its consoles theory of harm is surprising, unprecedented, and irrational. The Provisional Findings (“PFs”) assessed a significant body of evidence in the round to support its finding that Microsoft would have the ability and incentive to withhold Activision content, and that this would substantially lessen competition by foreclosing PlayStation.
Sony goes on to say Microsoft will take advantage of the decision to hurt the PlayStation:
Partial foreclosure strategies may in the short-term be more profitable and easier to implement (including because they trigger fewer gamer complaints) than total foreclosure (because Microsoft would still secure revenues from sales of Call of Duty on PlayStation for a transitional period while it degraded quality or access), while nevertheless having the same long-term result: foreclosure of PlayStation.
Only time will tell which company will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, the battle between Microsoft and Sony shows no signs of cooling off.