Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says Sony’s “disappointing behavior” won’t hurt their long-term relationship

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has claimed that Sony’s attempt to thwart the sale of the Call of Duty maker to Microsoft won’t be held against the PlayStation maker in the long term.

In an email sent to Activision employees on Tuesday, Kotick provided an update on the status of the $69 billion deal in which he called Sony’s recent behavior “disappointing.”

His letter referred to Sony’s recent claim that Microsoft may release intentionally buggy versions of Call of Duty games on PlayStation consoles if it acquires Activision.

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“We all know that our passionate gamers will be the first to hold Microsoft accountable for delivering on its promises of content and quality parity,” he said. “And all of us who work hard to make the best games in our industry care deeply about our players for ever releasing substandard versions of our games.”

For its part, Microsoft has repeatedly claimed that it has offered Sony a legally enforceable 10-year contract to make every new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it is on Xbox – with full content and parity in features.

Last month, Activision Blizzard’s executive vice president of corporate affairs and chief operating officer Lulu Cheng Meservey claimed that SIE chief Jim Ryan told Microsoft and Activision: “I don’t want the new Call of Duty deal. I just want to prevent your merger.”

Kotick also appears to have referenced this comment in his email to staff on Tuesday.

“Sony has admitted that they are not actually interested in the Call of Duty agreement – they just want to prevent our merger from happening,” he wrote. “This is clearly disappointing behavior from a partner of nearly thirty years, but we will not allow Sony’s behavior to affect our long-term relationship.

“PlayStation players know that we will continue to deliver the best possible games on Sony platforms as we have since the launch of PlayStation.”

Kotick’s update on the deal indicated that significant hurdles had recently been cleared.

Last week, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it no longer believed the acquisition would significantly reduce competition in the console gaming space.

On Friday, the watchdog said it had updated its interim findings after receiving new evidence that eased some of its concerns about the deal, most notably concern that Microsoft would make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive.

While the CMA originally believed that making Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive could be commercially beneficial for Microsoft, it said that new data it had received “suggests that this strategy would result in significant loss under any reasonable scenario”.

And earlier today, the Japanese competition regulator concluded that it had no problem with Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, meaning it would not seek to block the deal.