Gaming

Xbox spokesman Phil Spencer releases statement about problems with UK regulator’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer issued an official statement in response to a press release from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (AMC). The press release comes after the CMA completes the initial review phase of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In statements, the CMA expressed concerns that the deal could potentially stifle competition in the console game market.

Activision Blizzard owns some of the world’s best-selling and most recognizable game franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. The CMA is concerned that if Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard, it could hurt competitors, including new and future entrants to the game, by denying them access to Activision Blizzard games or offering them access at much worse terms.

The CMA also responded to concerns that Microsoft could “use” Activision Blizzard’s high-end games to gain a foothold in the nascent cloud gaming market.

The CMA concluded its statements by announcing that it may proceed with a Phase 2 investigation if Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s proposals to address the concerns raised are not deemed satisfactory.

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Now the official answer from Microsoft and Phil Spencer. The crux of Spencer’s argument is that Xbox offers new ways to play and expands player choices, which means the company’s efforts to bring Xbox to other platforms – PCs, mobile phones, and even smart TVs – through the Xbox app.

We’re expanding choice in two ways: by creating a Game Pass that gives players a subscription option; and bringing more games to mobile platforms.

However, porting more games to mobile platforms requires new capabilities. The experience that Activision Blizzard teams bring to mobile game development will help us understand how to create games that appeal to gamers around the world.

Spencer added that the company will “follow a principled path” in this endeavor. He clearly reiterated that Microsoft still has no plans to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation consoles, as was stated when the deal was first announced. He cited the fact that Minecraft, now the IP of Xbox Game Studios, remains available on almost all platforms.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard currently have five business days to submit proposals addressing issues of concern to the CMA before a Phase 2 investigation by an independent panel appointed by the CMA begins.

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