Xbox is leaning hard on its new deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo Switch, while Activision Blizzard has accused Sony of just trying to “protect its two-decade dominance in video games”. Those are the latest arguments in Microsoft’s attempts to get regulators to approve its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The companies hosted a press conference in Brussels today following a closed hearing at the European Commission. Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith addressed the media, discussing the Call of Duty deal, and claiming that selling off parts of Activision Blizzard to help push the merger through doesn’t seem likely.
In a summary of the press conference from GI.Biz’s Christopher Dring, Smith argued that “the future is cross-platform” and that this deal means Call of Duty needs to run well on all consoles, including Nintendo Switch. In addition to the deal with Nintendo, Microsoft also signed a deal with Nvidia to bring Call of Duty to GeForce Now, but Smith said Sony remains opposed to the deal.
On Twitter, The Verge’s Tom Warren said Microsoft thinks its new deals with Nvidia and Nintendo will be enough to convince regulators to approve the acquisition.
“Do you want to kill a deal and cement Sony’s position?” Smith said. “Or do you want to open [Call of Duty] up to 150 million more people?”
That 150 million figure likely comes from the current Nintendo Switch install base (which sits at 122.55 million) and the number of GeForce Now members, which Microsoft’s press release says is over 25 million.
Microsoft thinks its two deals, with Nvidia and Nintendo, will be enough to convince regulators. Smith on the CMA: “Do you want to kill a deal and cement Sony’s position? Or do you want to open this [Call of Duty] up to 150 million more people?” pic.twitter.com/S1M3bmqEY5
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) February 21, 2023
Smith also responded to a question regarding selling the Call of Duty brand to push the Activision Blizzard deal to the finish line, saying, “We don’t think it’s realistic that one part of this company can be carved out from the rest”.
This question comes after a report from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority earlier this month saying Microsoft could concede Call of Duty in favor of keeping moneymakers like King’s Candy Crush.
“We don’t think it’s realistic that one part of this company can be carved out from the rest, says Brad Smith, responding to a question about whether they would consider selling the brand to get the deal over the line.
— Christopher Dring (@Chris_Dring) February 21, 2023
Activision Blizzard, meanwhile, accused Sony of trying to “protect its two-decade dominance in video games”, arguing that the merger will “create greater opportunities” for workers while enhancing competition. In a similar vein, Smith once again tried to demonstrate Sony’s dominance, laying out the numbers in the European market.
“Think about the market in Europe,” Smith said. “It is a market where Sony has an 80% share. Globally, it is about 70/30. In Japan, it is 96/4. These numbers have been remarkably steady for two decades. Even last year, when there were issues with Sony’s supply chain, they came back strong.”
The Xbox Activision Blizzard saga has been going on for over a year now. The deal has faced opposition from multiple agencies, and Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has called the takeover “a learning experience”.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at , Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.