Microsoft snubs Activision Games as it battles for acquisition approval

Microsoft has told New Zealand regulators that Activision Blizzard does not make any “essential” games, dismissive language likely designed to address concerns over the software giant’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Call’s owner. of Duty.

In response to country request Commerce Commission Seven weeks ago, Microsoft also said Activision Blizzard’s games were “nothing unique,” according to Rock Paper Shotgun.

A Microsoft spokesperson described the language as a “legal term of art” and not a judgment of Activision Blizzard’s games, which include hit titles such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Candy Crush. . “We love each of their games and have tremendous admiration and respect for the creative talent behind them,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Microsoft’s choice of words underscores its challenges in convincing regulators around the world to let the software company, which also makes the Xbox console, swallow the hit video game maker. Competitor Sony, which makes the PlayStation console, has raised concerns about the proposed deal with Brazilian regulators, saying consumers will choose a console based on their ability to play popular Call of Duty games.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer clarified the Twitter earlier this year that it will “honor all existing agreements” to “keep Call of Duty on PlayStation”.

Even though Microsoft isn’t making Call of Duty exclusive to its platform, it’s possible the company will grant Xbox owners certain features and privileges not available on PS5. Game Pass, Microsoft’s Netflix-style subscription service, could steer gamers towards Xbox by including the popular shooter in its $10-a-month membership. It might be worth more than paying $70 for a copy that works on PlayStation 5.

Microsoft will continue to release select cross-platform Activision Blizzard titles for rival platforms, such as the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, Spencer said. Bloomberg earlier this year.

Daniel Francis, a NYU law professor and former Federal Trade Commission official, said Microsoft is likely trying to reassure regulators that other platforms will be able to compete even if they lose access to games. Activision.

“Microsoft will likely argue that a rival console or gaming platform doesn’t need to access or be compatible with Activision games to remain competitive,” Francis said.

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