Microsoft pushes Sony back in dispute over UK regulations

Do you want to know what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry at GamesBeat Summit Next in October. Register today.

Microsoft and Sony are in a public feud over the former’s possible acquisition of Activision Blizzard. More specifically, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the merger and Sony has already filed complaints with the regulator. The primary focus of the battle? The lucrative Call of Duty franchise.

In September, the CMA announced that it was investigating the merger further. Today it brought his entire text reason why it believes the case warrants further investigation. The text reads: “The CMA is concerned that having full control over [Activision Blizzard’s] Powerful catalog, especially in light of Microsoft’s already strong position in game consoles, operating systems and cloud infrastructure, could cause Microsoft to harm consumers by cutting back on Sony’s — Microsoft’s closest gaming rival — to compete, as well as from other existing rivals and potential entrants who might otherwise bring healthy competition through innovative multi-game subscriptions and cloud gaming services.”

Sony has rejected the merger. a spokesperson told in September: “By giving Microsoft control over Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have a major negative impact on gamers and the future of the game industry. We want to ensure PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers.”

This battle between the two companies has been given an open stage. Both Microsoft’s Phil Spencer and Sony’s Jim Ryan have spoken personally on the subject. Now Microsoft has responded to the CMA’s decision to further investigate the acquisition, meaning the regulatory body has listened too much to Sony’s complaints.

Microsoft’s sour response

In Microsoft’s rebuttal, if reported by Tom Warren of The Verge, it accuses regulators of anything but bowing to Sony’s complaints. It says, “[The CMA] accepts Sony’s complaints without the appropriate level of critical assessment.” It adds: “Sony is not vulnerable to a hypothetical foreclosure strategy, and the referral order erroneously relies on selfish statements by Sony that undermine the importance of Call of Duty to the company significantly.”

Microsoft states that it has no reason to take Call of Duty away from PlayStation users, because it would only hurt Microsoft. It adds, “The value of Call of Duty depends on its community of gamers, the majority of whom are on PlayStation. Keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation is therefore a commercial necessity for the Xbox business.”

In fact, Microsoft seems almost self-effacing in its response. It reads: “Sony PlayStation has been the largest console platform for over 20 years, with an installed base of over 150 million consoles…more than double the Xbox.” It describes its own company as “last in console, seventh in PC and nowhere in mobile game distribution worldwide.”

One final note: The CMA text, funnily enough, notes that Nintendo doesn’t see Nintendo as a primary rival in this battle, saying, “There is some evidence that Microsoft and Sony are closely competing on content. , audience and console technology Nintendo, on the other hand, competes less closely with Sony or Microsoft, and generally offers games that are more focused on “family fun” and innovative ways to play (for example, the Wii Fit board) and offers currently no Call of Duty games on Nintendo Switch.” We at GamesBeat don’t know why the 15 year old Wii Balance Board is relevant to this discussion.

The GamesBeat credo when talking about the game industry, is ‘where passion and business meet’. What does this mean? We want to tell you how important news is to you — not just as a decision maker in a game studio, but also as a game fan. Whether you’re reading our articles, listening to our podcasts, or watching our videos, GamesBeat helps you learn and have fun with the industry. Discover our briefings.