Microsoft’s merger with Activision Blizzard took a big hit last week as the FTC moved to block the deal. This is the latest roadblock that Microsoft has to face after both the UK CMA and EU Commissions initiated in-depth investigations into the merger.
Xbox Chief Phil Spencer recently claimed that Sony wants to protect its dominance by opposing the deal. Sony is the most vocal opponent of the merger between Microsoft and Activision and claimed that it will trigger a price hike.
Speaking on the Second Request podcast, Spencer said Sony wants to grow the PlayStation brand by "making Xbox smaller."
"There’s really only been one major opposer to the deal and it's Sony, and Sony’s trying to protect their dominance on console, and the way they grow is by making Xbox smaller," Spencer stated.
"They have a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games day and date on PC, [and] they don’t put their games in the subscription when they launch their games."
Spencer reiterated Microsoft’s merger with Activision Blizzard will strengthen its position in the mobile gaming sphere rather than strip games from the PlayStation platform. King, the developer of the popular Candy Crush video game, is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard is also developing a new Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile game and created the popular but controversial Diablo Immortal which is also a mobile title.
"But because Sony’s leading all of the dialogue around why this deal shouldn’t go through to protect their dominant position in console, the thing that they grab onto is Call of Duty, and we’ve said over and over that we’ll make a multi-year, 10-year commitment to PlayStation," Spencer shared.
Microsoft repeatedly said it has offered a ten-year deal to keep Call of Duty available on the PlayStation platform. The company also extended a similar deal to Nintendo should the merger with Activision Blizzard push through.
Sony’s opposition stems mainly from claims that Microsoft intends to make the Call of Duty series exclusive to the Xbox and PC after the current agreement expires. Microsoft has done something similar when it acquired Bethesda, making Starfield and Redfall exclusive titles.
Microsoft states the merger will be good for the gaming industry as more players will have access to Activision Blizzard titles. Interestingly, Activision Blizzard games are already on all major platforms today.
It's no surprise that Sony would oppose a deal that makes its main console rival even bigger. The deal would also allow Microsoft to dictate what Activition Blizzard games would be cross-platform and exclusive titles. The merger will also increase the dominance of the Xbox Game Pass in the video game subscription space.
Xbox will not be smaller if the deal does not push through, contrary to Spencer’s claims. It will just be harder for Microsoft to keep up with Sony’s first-party titles. Microsoft admits it's miles behind Sony in terms of first-party games.