Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has spoken out harshly about competitor Sony amid disputes over whether regulators will allow Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard. On the Second Request podcast, he said that Sony is trying to grow its own business by downsizing the Xbox.
“In fact, there was only one main opponent of the deal, and that is Sony. Sony is trying to defend its console dominance. They’re growing to make the Xbox smaller,” Spencer said. “They have a very different vision of the industry than we do. They don’t release their games on PC day after day, they don’t host their games on a subscription basis when they launch their games. They start thinking about the motive as I see it from the outside, just by reading some of the moves they make.”
Spencer went on to say that Sony’s argument in favor of Call of Duty about why the deal shouldn’t be allowed didn’t make any sense to him. Spencer said that Microsoft has repeatedly said it will not remove Call of Duty from the PlayStation if its offer is successful. In fact, Spencer said that he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Sony on the day the Activision Blizzard deal was announced to say that he intended to keep Call of Duty on the PlayStation if the deal went through.
“But since Sony is having all the dialogue about why this deal shouldn’t be done to protect their dominance on consoles, what they’re clinging to is Call of Duty,” he said.
Nintendo accepted Microsoft’s offer to put Call of Duty on Nintendo systems for 10 years, and Microsoft made a deal that Valve also accepted for the future of Call of Duty on PC (although Valve’s Gabe Newell stated that no formal contract was required). According to Spencer, now Sony “slows down” Microsoft because of ongoing negotiations. And why? Because in theory it helps Sony’s position because “it’s a good topic for regulators to discuss,” Spencer said.
According to Spencer, Microsoft will not remove Call of Duty from the PlayStation because it would be a bad business decision. The PlayStation is the most popular console platform for the Call of Duty series, he said, and removing it from the system would cost “billions” of revenue. Spencer also reiterated that Call of Duty for the PlayStation would not be a second-rate experience if his deal to buy Activision Blizzard went through, as Microsoft would launch the same version with the same features at the same time.
“The world’s largest console maker is objecting to a franchise that we believe will continue to ship on this platform. This is a deal that benefits customers through choice and access,” Spencer said.
Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard has already been approved in countries such as Serbia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, but the UK and US have yet to make a formal decision. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to hold a private meeting today, Dec. 8, to discuss the deal and possibly determine whether it will file antitrust lawsuits, as reported.
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