Microsoft just made a formal commitment on Tuesday. The Redmond company promises to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo Switch for ten years. A logical condition frames this commitment: that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars be validated by the American and European competition authorities.
Call of Duty becomes a major issue in the console wars
In an interview, Phil Spencer, the head of video games at Microsoft, accompanied this announcement with another promise: “Microsoft is committed to bringing more games to more people, however they choose to play”.
This statement follows another decision. Xbox wants to continue to release Call of Duty with its main rival Sony. And for good reason, as Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, explained in a column published this week: “The main alleged potential anti-competitive risk that Sony raises is that Microsoft ceases to make Call of Duty available on the PlayStation. But that would be economically irrational”.
The leader adds: “A critical portion of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty revenue comes from PlayStation game sales. Given the popularity of cross-play, it would also be disastrous for the franchise and for Xbox itself, hurting millions of gamers. »
While the takeover of Activision Blizzard has dragged on for months, Microsoft therefore wants to show its credentials. It must be said that organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seem particularly skeptical about this transaction. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the American regulator of companies, is preparing to challenge the agreement in court, as part of an antitrust action.
The European Commission did not wait, and announced on November 8 the opening of an in-depth investigation into this takeover project. The fear is indeed to see competition “significantly reduced” in the video game market, and in particular in cloud gaming.
Microsoft vs Sony: war is declared
It is in this context of fairly significant mistrust that we must understand the recent announcements of the Redmond firm. This takeover also revived the confrontation between Microsoft and Sony through the press. On the Microsoft side, on the other hand, there are many reassuring statements. Recently, a spokesperson even promised that the takeover: “will benefit gamers and the American video game industry”.
He also added “that Activision faces increasingly tough competition from foreign studios”. A version that does not convince Sony, which regularly asserts its position with the antitrust authorities.