Since Microsoft announced its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January last year, Sony has been expressing its concerns in front of European and British regulators.
In its latest filing with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Sony said it was concerned that Microsoft might raise the price of Call of Duty and limit the game to Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Pass subscription service, It might even be a strategic blow to the quality and performance of the PlayStation version of Call of Duty.
"Microsoft may have stumbled on the PlayStation version of Call of Duty so that bugs and bugs would only appear in the final level of the game or in subsequent updates. Even if we can detect such issues quickly, it may be too late to take any remedial action. At that point, gamers will lose faith in PlayStation as the platform of choice for Call of Duty. As evidenced by Modern Warfare II, Call of Duty usually gets the most purchases in the first few weeks of release. If people knew the game wasn't performing as well on PlayStation as it did on Xbox, Call of Duty players might decide to switch to Xbox because they wouldn't feel comfortable playing their favorite game in a second-rate or less-than-stellar location."
Of course, Sony said it was very smart, it did not explicitly mention whether Microsoft is deliberately cracking down on PS games, or whether Activision has enough ability to bring a better gaming experience on Xbox after being acquired.
Regardless, Sony has been very clear about the possibility that Microsoft could strike at itself strategically, such as ignoring PS-specific features or “restricting, belittling, or not focusing on the PlayStation multiplayer experience,” or When a bug is found, focus on fixing it on Xbox first.
In the documents disclosed by the CMA, Microsoft stated that they have licensed Activision Blizzard’s game “Call of Duty” IP to Sony for 10 years, promising “in terms of release date, content, features, upgrades, quality and playability.” Provide Sony with the same treatment as the Xbox platform”, just to dispel concerns about Microsoft’s acquisition of the game maker, but the PlayStation maker did not agree to sign.
Microsoft also signed a similar agreement with Nvidia’s GeForce Now gaming platform last month, and also reached a 10-year agreement with Nintendo, but the final result still depends on whether Microsoft can approve this controversial game. Activision Blizzard acquisition.
Microsoft President Brad Smith (Brad Smith) has previously said that he hopes that rivals who strongly oppose the acquisition will also consider the same deal. Sony could offer a similar 10-year deal at any time if they were willing to sit down and talk.
Additionally, Sony is concerned that Microsoft will keep Call of Duty in Xbox Game Pass and not allow Sony to offer the game on its own PlayStation Plus service.
In this document, Microsoft also stated that “any CoD game in Microsoft’s game subscription is eligible to be included in Sony’s game subscription service at the same time and for the same period.”
But again, Sony is clearly not happy with its licensing terms or pricing. Sony said the terms “would commercially disrupt Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) multi-game subscription business model.”
Just hours before Microsoft held a pivotal meeting with EU regulators last month, the company revealed it had signed a binding 10-year deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms. Hours later, Microsoft again announced a similar deal with Nvidia in an attempt to force Sony to agree to similar terms, but they refused to sign.
“Microsoft has not shown any real commitment to the outcome of the negotiations,” Sony said in the CMA disclosure document. Sony may be referring to details of a proposed deal from Microsoft disclosed last year, which Jim Ryan called “inadequate on many levels” and declined to comment on because he didn’t like the fact that Phil Spencer took the matter to the fore. Instead of quietly engaging with SIE on public media platforms.
In addition, Activision Blizzard executive Lulu Cheng Meservey also posted today explaining why Sony did not accept Microsoft’s new 10-year deal for Call of Duty. “I don’t want a new Call of Duty deal, I just want to stop Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from merging,” Jim Ryan allegedly told a closed-door hearing with European Commission regulators on Feb. 21.
It is worth mentioning that the CMA said in February this year that the deal could weaken competition between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, and dampen competition in the cloud gaming space. The regulator suggested that structural remedies may be needed to allay its concerns, including divesting businesses related to the Call of Duty game.
In response to the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s findings, Microsoft said the package of remedies it will provide protects all Call of Duty gamers in the UK and provides substantial benefits to consumers and developers.
“Microsoft is proposing a package of licensing remedies that will, first, guarantee parity for Call of Duty on the PlayStation and Xbox platforms, and second, will ensure that Call of Duty and other Activision games are available in the cloud,” Microsoft said in a release. Wide application in game services.”
Microsoft also added that it believed the company’s proposed remedies met the criteria for conduct remedies considered by the UK Competition and Markets Authority.
In a document submitted to the UK Competition and Markets Authority, Sony rejected Microsoft’s proposal, saying that the only way to maintain competition in the field of console and cloud gaming is to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, or to allow Microsoft to accept structural remedies, such as Microsoft sells the Call of Duty game.
In addition to the British regulators, regulators including the United States, Europe and other places are trying to block the transaction. But it was previously reported that the EU was preparing to give the green light to the merger following news that Microsoft would bring Call of Duty and other games to Nintendo and GeForce Now platforms.
Of course, everything that comes to light now may be a cloud of smoke bombs, after all, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority will rule on the deal on April 22, and we’re afraid that we won’t see until then whether Microsoft can successfully sell Activision. Blizzard is in the bag.