UK CMA Sides with Microsoft over Call of Duty on PlayStation Concerns
April 3, 2023
Although we are not talking about a final choice, the UK CMA has “softened” its stance against Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. British regulators taking into account that the purchase will not harm competition in the context of consoles.
Xbox vs Play Station
Everything seems to be going so that Microsoft won its first huge fight to close the purchase of Activision Blizzard. The Competition and Markets Authority of the Unified Kingdom (CMA) has just announced an update on its inquiry into the purchase, and has decided to “soften” its position against its completion. Why? Well, at the moment you don’t think that Microsoft wants to get a Call of Duty from PlayStation.
British regulators have decided to “narrow the scope of their concerns” around the consensus. It is that the body now estimates that the purchase of Activision Blizzard will not harm competition in the context of consoles. He has described as improbable a scenario in which the famous war shooter is no longer offered on Sony consoles.
However, beware, this does not mean that the CMA has approved the transactions. The investigation is still ongoing and the date of next April 26 is kept to spread whether the consensus is approved or not. The most significant new evidence provided to the CMA comes with financial incentives from Microsoft to make Activision’s games, including Call of Duty, exclusive to their own consoles.
While the original CMA study suggests that this tactic could be profitable in most scenarios, the new data indicates that this tactic would produce significant losses in any plausible scenario. On this basis, the updated scan now shows that it may not be commercially productive for Microsoft to make Call of Duty unique to Xbox post-consensus, but rather that Microsoft will still have the incentive to keep making the game available on PlayStation, indicated the regulators.
Which the CMA of the United Kingdom says confirms the speech that those of Redmond have presented from the first day: that removing Call of Duty from PlayStation does not make sense. Let’s not forget that Brad Smith, president of the United States company, had already dismissed that probability in the last month of last year.
“The main potential anti-competitive danger that Sony exposes is that Microsoft would stop delivering Call of Duty on PlayStation. But that could be economically absurd. A critical section of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty revenue comes from sales of PlayStation games. Given the fame of crossplay, it could also be disastrous for the Call of Duty franchise and our Xbox, alienating millions of players”
the Microsoft executive had assured. For this reason, the CMA events are surely quite celebrated in the offices of Phil Spencer and company. Although it is still far from being a definitive victory.
UK regulators still have one key concern to examine: the effect of the Activision Blizzard purchase on cloud gaming platforms. Martin Coleman, who leads the panel of professionals investigating the $68.7 billion purchase, has been forceful about the announcement.
“Our tentative criticism that this consensus creates concerns in the cloud gaming market is not affected by the present announcement. Our inquiry is ongoing to be completed by the end of April”
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