Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard remains under investigation by regulatory bodies around the world, and though it feels like the process is finally approaching its endgame, it has certainly led to Sony in particular voicing extreme concerns and taking several actions in an attempt to put a stop to it. Recently, in fact, it even came to light that PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan had no interest in seeking a new deal regarding Call of Duty releases, only in blocking the deal.
As one might expect, Sony’s actions have come as something of a disappointment to Activision, a company that has worked closely with Sony for a number of years now (including having an exclusive marketing deal for PlayStation over the last several years). That said, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has insisted in an email he recently sent out to company employees that Sony’s actions, which he has labelled “disappointing”, will not affect the two companies’ working relationship, and that Activision will continue to ensure its games do not skimp on quality when it comes to their PlayStation versions (which is another concern Sony has brought up over the deal).
“You may have seen statements from Sony, including an argument that if this deal goes through, Microsoft could release deliberately “buggy” versions of our games on PlayStation,” Kotick wrote in his email. “We all know our passionate players would be the first to hold Microsoft accountable for keeping its promises of content and quality parity. And, all of us who work so hard to deliver the best games in our industry care too deeply about our players to ever launch sub-par versions of our games. Sony has even admitted that they aren’t actually concerned about a Call of Duty agreement—they would just like to prevent our merger from happening. This is obviously disappointing behavior from a partner for almost thirty years, but we will not allow Sony’s behavior to affect our long term relationship. PlayStation players know we will continue to deliver the best games possible on Sony platforms as we have since the launch of PlayStation.”
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority, which initially expressed concerns over how Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard could harm competition, recently published new findings in which it accepted that the deal was unlikely to harm competition after all. Meanwhile, the European Commission recently pushed back its deadline for a final decision on the deal to May 22, but reports have suggested that the regulator is likely to approve the deal. Recently, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission also approved the acquisition.
Microsoft has signed binding agreements with Nintendo and Nvidia, among others, that will see the company releasing Call of Duty games for their respective platforms with full content and feature parity for at least the next 10 years. An agreement with Sony, however, hasn’t yet been reached.