Microsoft’s impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being looked into by authorities around the world, and understandably enough for a deal as big as this one, it’s receiving greater scrutiny than one would ordinarily see for studio acquisitions. For instance, while the acquisition has ben approved by Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), in other areas, such as the UK, the deal is being scrutinized more heavily, with worries over lessened competition being cited by the authorities.
Others in the industry, however, don’t believe that that would necessarily be the case. For instance, Take-Two Interactive’s CEO Strauss Zelnick believes that Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard would actually be good for the industry. Speaking in a ‘Spotlight Conversation’ recorded by TheWrap (transcribed by VGC), Zelnick expressed that with the games industry being a “highly fragmented business”, there’s “plenty of room for creativity to go around.”
“We’re certainly of the belief that it’s a good thing for Microsoft and the industry,” he said. “It’s a highly fragmented business and there’s plenty of room for creativity to go around, and Microsoft is an ally of ours, and if this makes their business more powerful we think that’s good for us.”
“At the end of the day if [Microsoft is] focused on the power and strength of their own business they’re going to want to be pushing the most successful properties, and if consumers are showing up for our properties and Microsoft isn’t engaged, isn’t involved, isn’t a partner, than that would be a bad thing for Microsoft,” Zelnick added. “So I think we’re all essentially pulling in the same direction. The entertainment business is the antithesis of a fungible commoditised business – every title stands alone, so it sort of doesn’t compete with anything else, and yet it’s highly competitive in a way.
“In other words, we compete with everything, in a way, we compete with nothing. You can’t replace one of our titles with another title.”
The proposed acquisition has hit a few roadblocks in recent months, with Sony having taken steps to protect its interests against the possibility of Activision Blizzard eventually becoming exclusive to Xbox. Microsoft, however, remains “very, very confident” that the deal will go through.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently revealed that Microsoft had provided a signed agreement to Sony with assurances that Call of Duty would remain on PlayStation for “several” years beyond Activision’s existing agreement with Sony (which reportedly runs until 2025). In a public response, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan criticized the proposal, which extends for three years beyond the existing agreement, and called it “inadequate”.