The word war between Activision, Microsoft, and Sony has gotten heated lately. The situation went from bad to worse (at least for Microsoft) after the UK CMA published its provisional findings on the proposed merger. The published report suggests that Activision should exclude the Call of Duty franchise from the merger.
In a recent development, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has accused Sony of "trying to sabotage" the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Kotick also said that PlayStation chief Jim Ryan has "stopped talking" to both companies.
"Suddenly, Sony’s entire leadership team stopped talking to anyone at Microsoft," Kotick said in an interview with the Financial Times. "I think this is all Sony just trying to sabotage the transaction."
He adds, "The whole idea that we are not going to support a PlayStation or that Microsoft would not support the PlayStation, it is absurd."
This is the second time this week that Kotick made a statement against Sony. He previously said that the console maker has not been returning their calls to discuss future opportunities and partnerships.
Sony has responded to the latest comments by Kotick. "We are in contact with Microsoft and have no further comment regarding our private negotiations," Sony said in a statement.
Kotick is confident that the Microsoft acquisition will be completed before the July 2023 deadline despite the FTC lawsuit. He revealed that Microsoft has hired Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer that the Federal Trade Commission contracted to lead a probe into Google in 2012.
"She feels like if she is going to have to litigate against the FTC, she will absolutely crush them," Kotick said.
Earlier this week, Kotick appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and stated during the interview that the antitrust regulators do not know the industry.
"The FTC, the CMA, and the EU don't know our industry, so they're trying to come up to speed and fully understand the industry better," he stated. "I don't think they fully understand it's a free-to-play business, that the Japanese and Chinese companies dominate the industry with Sony and Nintendo who have these huge libraries of intellectual property... I think [the regulators] are a little bit confused as to where competition is today."
Last month, Microsoft’s VP for Communications Frank X. Shaw accused Sony President Jim Ryan of misleading the EU Commission. Ryan flew to Brussels to meet with members of the EU Commission regarding its opposition to the landmark deal.
"I hear Sony is briefing people in Brussels claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision," wrote Frank X. Shaw. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
In the meantime, Activision Blizzard is set to launch a new Call of Duty title and Diablo 4 later this year.