Phil Spencer says review of Xbox's Activision deal is 'fair and justified' |  VGC

Phil Spencer says review of Xbox’s Activision deal is ‘fair and justified’ | VGC

Xbox Game Studios (Microsoft) [2,274 articles]” href=””>Microsoft’s head of games has commented on ongoing investigations into its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard [1,142 articles]” href=””>Activision Blizzard, stating that it believes regulatory scrutiny is “fair” and “warranted”.

Regulators around the world are currently holding a magnifying glass over the proposed deal, with the UK’s CMA notably widening its investigation and raising concerns that it could harm PlayStation. [6,442 articles]” href=””>PlayStation and other gaming subscription services – something Microsoft has rejected.

The CMA has officially extended its investigation to a second phase, while the European competition watchdog has set its own provisional deadline of November 8 to clear the deal or choose to enter a second phase. The US FTC is expected to rule by the end of November.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live event this week, Xbox [5,939 articles]” href=””>Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox [482 articles]” href=””>Phil Spencer said he believed scrutiny of such a large deal was warranted and revealed he was meeting regularly from regulators around the world.

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“It may surprise people, but I’m not an expert on $70 billion deals,” he said. “But I know we’re very focused on getting approval in the major jurisdictions, and I spend a lot of time in Brussels, London, and with the FTC here in the United States.

“I would say the discussions were very fair and honest. It’s a big acquisition, there’s no doubt about it. Microsoft, in its role in the tech industry, is a big tech company, and I think the discussion around an acquisition of this size is warranted, and I appreciated the time spent.

He added: “We are really focused on getting the deal approved in the markets – I’m sure of that. I was just in London last week, I continue to have discussions with all the regulators and I remain confident that we will get the deal approved.

Much of the discussion – from regulators and the gaming industry – around the Activision Blizzard deal has focused on Call of Duty.

Despite repeated assurances from Xbox that the Call of Duty series, which is regularly the best-selling release of the year in the United States, will remain on PlayStation, Sony Interactive Entertainment [2,622 articles]” href=””> Sony engaged in an increasingly public war of words over the proposed deal and told the press that the offer of Microsoft regarding the future of CoD was “insufficient on several levels”.

The UK’s CMA expressed similar concerns that the deal could hurt PlayStation and other gaming subscription services, if Microsoft made Call of Duty exclusive to its platform.

In the Wall Street Journal discussion, Spencer reiterated Microsoft’s position that it will continue to release CoD on PlayStation platforms for the foreseeable future. The exec claimed that for its gaming business, the company was more interested in what the addition of Activision Blizzard could do for its mobile growth.

“Our plan is for Call of Duty to be specifically available on PlayStation, that’s what you’re asking, but when I think about our plans, I’d love to see it on Nintendo Switch. [3,044 articles]“href=””>Switchable and playable on many different screens,” he said.

“But if we go back to why this deal is important to us, when you’re spending the amount we’re spending and looking at the in-game opportunity, that opportunity is really about mobile.

“Most of the discussions that have taken place have been about consoles and how Xbox and PlayStation consoles compete against each other. But when you think about three billion people playing video games, there’s only There are approximately 200 million households that game on consoles.The vast majority of people who game do so on the device that is already in their pocket, i.e. their phone.

Spencer claimed Microsoft found Call of Duty: Mobile [114 articles]” href=””>Call of Duty Mobile “more interesting” than what the proposed console deal would mean between Xbox and PlayStation.

“What really interested us at Activision Blizzard King was the work the teams there have done to build such a large number of mobile subscribers,” he said.

“This franchise will continue to ship natively on PlayStation – it’s not our plan to bait and switch someone to where they need to play in the cloud, or that in two to three years we’re going to retire the game. Our intention is to continue shipping Call of Duty on PlayStation as long as it makes sense… the technology is still in a transitional form.