Today, Microsoft President Brad Smith and Xbox CEO Phil Spencer spoke briefly to the media about it ongoing attempt to consume Activision Blizzard Kingonce again pretending it was all about the bigger spavin call of Duty. At one point, Smith said he had a contract with him that would last call of Duty on PlayStation after the sale closed, he claimed it all came down to Sony actually signing the thing. Conveniently, he ignored that the contract was held up because, you know, the deal itself — which could potentially have an industry-wide impact that far outstrips it Call of Duty.
For those of you tuning in right now, Microsoft has spent the last 12 months buying Activision Blizzard for the amazing amount of $69 billion. Almost since the deal was announced, however, regulators and governments around the world, as well as rival companies like Sony, have spoken out against the deal. These companies don’t want the deal to go through because it could give Xbox too much power over the industry by owning many of the biggest brands in gaming such as Xbox One starfield And Minecraft (among other things). And Microsoft has spent the last year jumping from courtroom to courtroom and country to country trying to convince everyone that one giant company buying another giant company is absolutely good for the industry and not terrible at all is. There are also repeated attempts to get Sony to sign a contract call of Duty as part of this effort.
That’s why today — as part of that ongoing worldwide tour of courtrooms and boards of directors — Microsoft executives were in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a behind-closed-doors hearing with the European Commission, which (like many other groups) has concerns about Activision’s action. After that hearing, Smith and Spencer held a brief media briefing (heh) and mostly went through the same things they said before about how Sony is already dominating the gaming industry and how Microsoft needs Activision Blizzard to keep up. All of these arguments were made while also pointing out that Nintendo had done so I just signed a 10 year contract with the company bring call of Duty to Switch, a deal that suggests Microsoft is trying to prove it won’t keep some of its biggest franchises for itself should the deal go through. And if it’s willing to offer Call of Duty a decade-long deal, Microsoft is clearly not trying to establish a monopoly through that deal.
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It was during this part of the briefing that as reported by GameIndustry.bizthat Smith revealed that it actually was him Carry the contract for a similar deal that would hold call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. It was in an envelope in his pocket.
“We haven’t agreed on a deal with Sony yet, but I hope we will,” Smith said. “I hope today is a day that will move our industry and our regulation forward in a responsible way.” Sony can use all its energies to block this deal, which will reduce competition and slow market development. Or they can sit down with us and negotiate a deal.”
Of course, bringing the actual contract with you on your trip to Europe is just a way to dramatically remind people that Sony isn’t playing along and is fighting back on the proposed Activision deal over concerns it could lose access call of Duty, a series that Sony has called “essential” in the past. And to be clear, even after signing this deal, Sony could still lose Call of Duty after the first decade if Xbox 2033 doesn’t offer another similar deal as a prop, unless Smith thought Sony was up at the moment storm the stage and sign…) And it’s also another example of Microsoft acting the way everyone is concerned call of Duty just because it seems Sony is primarily focused on that part of the deal.
In fact, at one point during the briefing, Smith said verbatim that the “biggest concern people have expressed about this acquisition is this call of Duty will be less available to people.”
That’s a wild thing to say! And it just ignores all the other legitimate issues that people and governments have with this deal, how it might make the industry smaller and more vulnerable to collapse, how it might position Game Pass as a more powerful force that might start hurting studios, who don’t make deals with Xbox, or just the basic reality that – historically – Corporate mergers are terrible for consumers.
In other news related to this seemingly never-ending saga, Microsoft also confirmed that it has signed a 10-year deal with NVIDIA to allow GeForce NOW gamers to stream Xbox PC games and Activision PC games, including the main cod, when the deal is approved and goes through. This, along with the Nintendo deal, is being clearly touted by Microsoft right ahead of today’s hearing as proof that the company won’t limit Call of Duty or other Activision Blizzard games to one platform or service.
Spencer even tweeted about the deal, adding that the company is “committed to bringing more games to more people – however they choose to play”. Well, unless you want to play Bethesda’s next big RPG, starfield, on a PS5. Then uh…tough luck!
https://kotaku.com/microsoft-xbox-cod-call-of-duty-sony-game-pass-contract-1850142802 Oddly enough, the Microsoft president carries the Sony CoD deal in his pocket