Sony Says Microsoft Deal For Activision Would Have "Major Negative Implications" For Gamers

Microsoft says it makes "zero business sense" to take Call of Duty off PlayStation.

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The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced it will further investigate Microsoft's proposed bid to buy Activision Blizzard, and now both Microsoft and Sony have reacted to the development.

In a statement to GI.biz, a spokesperson for Sony said it "welcomes the announcement" of further scrutiny by the UK government into Microsoft's deal. The company said, should Microsoft be allowed to buy Activision Blizzard, the deal would have "major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry."

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Sony added: "We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers."

A spokesperson for Microsoft, meanwhile, referenced how a lot of discussion and debate has centered around Activision's Call of Duty series. Microsoft has pledged to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for years to come. "It makes zero business sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market leading console position," Microsoft said.

Earlier in September, the CMA said it would launch an extended investigation into the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard deal if Microsoft did not provide evidence to assuage the CMA's anti-competitive concerns within five business days. That time came and went, and now the CMA is conducting its more rigorous probe.

The CMA has said it is "concerned" that Microsoft's proposal to buy Activision Blizzard could "substantially lessen competition" for sales of game consoles, subscription services, and cloud gaming networks.

Now that the CMA's investigation has reached Phase 2, an independent panel of "experts" will look into the concerns and help make a decision about whether or not the deal should be approved.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said the buyout of Activision Blizzard is not about limiting who can play its games and use its services--he claimed it's about growing.

Spencer pointed out that consoles are "not the only way that people play games." He went on to mention that mobile is the biggest and fastest-growing segment of gaming, which is why Microsoft is pushing so hard to buy Activision Blizzard and acquire its Candy Crush division.

"To reach the billions of players where they are and no matter what device they play on, we need to embrace choice. Giving players choice in how they play their games makes gaming more accessible and leads to larger, more vibrant communities of players," Spencer said. "Choice is equally important to developers. Developers benefit from having a diversity of distribution and business models for their games. Choice unlocks opportunities for innovation and enables the industry to grow."

So far, some seven months after Microsoft announced its proposal to buy Activision Blizzard, only Saudi Arabia has approved the deal. New Zealand's decision is due November 11.

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