Sony's Latest Excuse to Hinder Microsoft's Activision Acquisition Is the Weakest Yet

Both Microsoft and Sony have responded to the British CMA's initial investigation on the Activision acquisition, and PlayStation managed to come up with its weakest excuse yet to try to hinder the deal. ūüėā


Published: March 8, 2023 1:08 PM /

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Xbox Acvision Microsoft Acquisition

The regulatory squabble between Microsoft and Sony continues with new documents published by the British CMA  (Competition and Markets Authority) about the proposed acquisition of Activision.

Microsoft's response to the CMA's preliminary investigation pretty much sticks to what we know, bringing up the deals with Nintendo and Nvidia sealed over the last few weeks.

An interesting detail is that the company maintains that both premium Call of Duty releases and Warzone can be optimized to run natively on Nintendo Switch despite its weaker hardware compared to other current generation platforms. 

We also hear that the addition of Activision content to Game Pass will reduce prices and Game Pass prices won't increase as a result of the merger. Interestingly, Microsoft also argues that the merger and the resulting addition of Activision games to Game Pass will spur sony to improve its own subscription offer in order to compete, benefiting PlayStation's own users. 

Another alleged benefit listed by Microsoft is that Sony won't be able to damage Xbox and PC customers with its usual timed exclusive content that it has been pushing within the Call of Duty franchise for years. 

The house of Xbox offers to Sony a similar deal to the one offered to Nintendo, including all Call of Duy games with full parity on all aspects for 10 years, including the inclusion in Sony's PlayStation Plus series. 

Microsoft will also commits to license activision games including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft to other cloud providers. This is particularly interesting since WoW is not currently playable via any cloud service.

On the other hand, the company pretty much completely refuses the idea of divesting the Call of Duty franchise from the acquisition. 

Sony's response continues to argue that the acquisition should be prohibited or Call of Duty should be divested from the transaction. Among the reasons provided by the house of PlayStation, we even find the allegation that Microsoft could try to circumvent the proposed behavioral remedies, including the rather extreme description of a situation in which Microsoft would somehow intentionally ship a PlayStation version of Call of Duty affected by bugs.

I'll report it in full because you can't make this stuff up. 

"Third, swiftly detecting any diversions from, and ensuring compliance with, a commitment as to technical or graphical quality would be challenging. For example, Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates. Even if such degradations could be swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call of Duty.

The conclusion is that Microsoft and Sony are certainly at odds, and the CMA will now have to rule on which party has the strongest arguments. 

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Giuseppe Nelva Profile Picture
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Started as News Editor at TechRaptor in January 2023, following over 20 years of professional experience in gaming journalism both on print media and on the… More about Giuseppe