Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is still confident that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be approved by the company, saying, “If this is about competition, let’s have competition.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, Nadella said, “Of course any acquisition of this magnitude will be scrutinized, but we are very confident that we will get out of it.”
A major concern, particularly for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, was that the merger could be anti-competitive for the gaming industry as a whole. However, Nadella points out that Microsoft’s main competitor, Sony, has also acquired studios, including big ones like Bungie.
Nadella continues, “So if this is about competition, let’s have competition.”
Concerns about the merger center’s anticompetitive operation surrounding franchises such as Call of Duty that may become exclusive to Microsoft platforms. Xbox’s Phil Spencer has already confirmed that he wants to keep Call of Duty a multiplatform franchise for now, but add the titles to Xbox Game Pass to make it accessible to Xbox customers in various ways.
But PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan criticized Xbox’s offer to extend Call of Duty’s availability on PlayStation for just three additional years after existing contacts expire, calling it “inadequate”.
Other companies, such as Electronic Arts, think a successful merger could open up new opportunities for their own franchises. CEO Andrew Wilson says the multi-platform nature of the Battlefield franchise could benefit from Call of Duty becoming a Microsoft exclusive.
The nearly $70 billion deal is by far the largest game buyout of its kind and is being scrutinized by regulators around the world. The deal is under investigation in the UK, US, Brazil and more – a final decision is likely to take at least months.
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey