“I don’t want a new Call of Duty deal. I just want to block your merger.” Sony SIE CEO to Xbox

Sony has made their position clear, they will not accept Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition

When Microsoft announced their plan to acquire Activision Blizzard, we always knew that Sony would be a thorn in their side every step of the way. Sony are the company behind PlayStation, the brand that is the undisputed leader of the gaming market. Sony has a commanding lead over Xbox and Nintendo in terms of market share, and Activision’s Call of Duty series generates a tonne of income for Sony. Sony does not want Call of Duty to become an Xbox-branded title, and no deal from Microsoft will allay their concerns about the acquisition.

When answering questions in Brussels, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), as quoted by Activision Blizzard COO Lulu Cheng Meservey (see below), made Sony’s position clear. Sony will not accept any Call of Duty deal from Microsoft/Xbox, they just want to block the acquisition. Sony are not looking for concessions from Microsoft, they want to destroy their acquisition plan. 

Regulators should now see Sony’s comments regarding Microsoft’s acquisition as the bad faith arguments they are

Sony “just want to block your merger”. That’s what SIE’s CEO said about Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition deal. Knowing this, regulators should know that this position makes it beneficial for Sony to make every conceivable argument they can to push them to block the acquisition, no matter how unrealistic, or petty these arguments are. 

Sony has alleged that Microsoft will pull the Call of Duty franchise from PlayStation consoles, despite Microsoft’s plans to give PlayStation, Nintendo, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now service long-term access to the series. They have alleged that Microsoft will release poorly optimised, or buggy versions of Call of Duty on PlayStation, despite the fact that this would devalue the Call of Duty brand and harm game sales. Sony’s arguments against Xbox are self serving, and regulators should see past Sony’s bad faith arguments.

Microsoft has already done that they needed to do to get both Nintendo and Nvidia on their side, and Sony is currently the only major gaming platform holder that is actively fighting against Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal. Should Microsoft’s deal receive regulatory approval, the gaming industry will change as a result of it. Regulators should scrutinise Microsoft’s deal fully, but they should acknowledge that Sony are acting in bad faith and react to their talking points accordingly.

You can join the discussion on Sony making their position on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal clear on the OC3D Forums.