How many times has Microsoft accused its rival of doing what it (also) does?
Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s president, and CEO, reportedly met with Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s top antitrust official, this week to express his concerns that Microsoft’s $68.7 billion offer to buy Activision Blizzard King should not be approved. Microsoft responded to it, but not Satya Nadella (the tech company’s CEO) or Phil Spencer (the Xbox boss), but Frank X. Shaw, who has moved transformed from a Marien to become Microsoft’s communications director, reacted on Twitter:
“I hear Sony is briefing people in Brussels, claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision [Blizzard King]. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve offered Sony a ten-year deal to give them parity on timing, content, features, quality, playability, and other aspects of the game.
We’ve also said we’re happy to make this enforceable through a contract, regulatory agreements, or other means. Sony is the console market leader, and it would defy business logic for us to exclude PlayStation gamers from the Call of Duty ecosystem. We aim to bring Call of Duty and other games (as we did with Minecraft) to more people worldwide so they can play them where and how they want,” Shaw wrote.
It’s a big deal because it would be the most significant step towards consolidating the gaming industry (fewer competitors, fewer companies…). According to Reuters, the European Union will publish a list of its concerns, and we recently heard that Redmond was trying to bribe European lawmakers to own the publisher and speed up the regulatory process.
Microsoft might face an antitrust case from the European Commission, following the US FTC. This will be a long year for them.