Microsoft’s Activison Blizzard acquisition: The full news schedule so far

It’s been a little over a year since Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard. Since then, what appeared to be another massive acquisition is looking more and more cloudy as regulators in several countries scrutinize a deal that could upend the video game industry.

While legal experts have confirmed that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard does not constitute a monopoly (more on that later), it still represents a seismic shift in the video game landscape – and warrants an appropriate level of scrutiny. But how did another day in an increasingly merger-focused industry become such an organizational landmine? Read on for a full breakdown of how we got here.

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September 1, 2022 – Call of Duty will continue to launch on PlayStation the same day, as will Game Pass

Spencer made a point to make New Call of Duty games will still be released on PlayStation the same day they launch elsewhere, even if the goal is to eventually release new Call of Duty, along with Overwatch and Diablo, on Xbox Game Pass.

In another blog post, Spencer confirmed that PlayStation players will receive the new Call of Duty on the same launch day as any other platform, including Xbox Game Pass where first-party Xbox games are released on the day and date as retail.

September 7, 2022 – PlayStation’s Jim Ryan Calls promise of Call of Duty on Xbox ‘insufficient on many levels’

In the first of a series of responses, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called the promise to bring Call of Duty to PlayStation after the acquisition “inadequate”.

in Statement to Gamesindustry.bizHowever, Ryan said that the stated promise to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement does not appeal to PlayStation. “After nearly 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inappropriate on many levels and failed to take into account the impact on our players.”

October 12, 2022 – After concerns raised by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Xbox says PlayStation is too big to fail

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns about Xbox’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In response, Xbox said the concerns were unsupported and claimed that the PlayStation was too big to fail.

“The suggestion that a market leader, with visible and enduring market power, could be shut out by a third-largest provider as a result of losing access to a single address is almost implausible.” Xbox said in a statement. Additionally, Xbox said that even if every Call of Duty player on PlayStation switched to Xbox, “the remaining PlayStation game base would be much larger than Xbox.”

October 31, 2022 – Phil Spencer: Call of Duty will continue to ship on PlayStation ‘as long as there is PlayStation to ship’

In continuing commitments to keeping Call of Duty cross-platform, Phil Spencer said the intent was not to move Call of Duty away from PlayStation gamers and that as long as there was a PlayStation to ship, Xbox would ship Call of Duty to the Sony console.

talking on The Brain YouTube channel itselfSpencer cited Minecraft, a game that Xbox continued to ship to other platforms even after the acquisition of developer Mojang.

November 11, 2022 – Xbox PlayStation is offering a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on the platform

He was Reported by The New York Times that Xbox has offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. While PlayStation has not commented on the offer, this is a seven-year increase compared to the current three-year deal in place to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.

This deal will also come to reflect a similar arrangement made with Nintendo which we will discuss in more detail below.

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December 8, 2022 – The Federal Trade Commission sues to block Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of Xbox

In its biggest rebuke to date, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit to block Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In a press releaseThe FTC said that Xbox could “harm competition in high-performance game consoles and subscription services by denying or ‘diluting’ competitors’ access to its popular content”. The Federal Trade Commission cited the ZeniMax Media acquisition as an example of how games like Redfall and Starfield would not appear on competing consoles.

In an internal memo, current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told employees that while the lawsuit “sounds troubling,” the expectation is that the deal will go through as planned.

December 12, 2022 – Phil Spencer says Sony wants to grow ‘by making Xbox smaller’

In a slight deviation from the tone, Spencer again responded to PlayStation’s attempts to block the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard by saying that PlayStation wants to “protect its dominance” by “making the Xbox smaller”.

Spencer appeared on Second budka orderHe described Sony as the only “major opponent” to the deal. “They have a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games on the day and date on PC, [and] They don’t put their games on subscription when they release their games.”

While Spencer spent months talking about how Call of Duty would survive on PlayStation, this was met with Jim Ryan calling these initiatives “inadequate”. Responding to the PlayStation’s dominance, Spencer marks a change in tone as the battle for possession continues to heat up.

January 5, 2023 – UK Capital Markets Authority extends investigation into Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Citing the complexity of the case, the Capital Markets Authority announced that it would extend its investigation into the takeover by up to eight weeks to address the amount of evidence it had collected. In addition, the CMA must also go through the responses it obtained from the public after reaching the opinions on the takeover.

The extension means the final submission date for the CMA’s report on whether Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was negative for the industry is now April 26 instead of the original March 1 deadline. That date.

January 30, 2023 – The success of Last of Us on HBO proves Sony’s opposition to the merger is unfounded

While not an official statement, Activision Blizzard CCO tweeted Lulu Cheng Meserve In the official FTC Twitter account, citing the success of Sony’s The Last of Us adaptation of HBO as evidence that Sony’s opposition to the acquisition is unfounded.

“Sony has an unparalleled advantage in intellectual property, not just in games but in television, film, and music — which can be developed into games, or which can commercialize existing games,” said Meservey. “No wonder their continued dominance as the market leader for consoles. In gaming, Sony is ‘first of us’ — and you’d be fine without the protections of the FTC.”

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Meservey pointed to the record-breaking viewership of HBO’s The Last of Us, which is also produced by PlayStation Productions and Sony Pictures Television, as examples of Sony’s vast network.

February 3, 2023 – The European Union issues an antitrust warning to Microsoft

According to PoliticoEU representatives issued an official warning to Microsoft about its acquisition plans, claiming that Microsoft could be “incentivized” to keep Call of Duty away from competing consoles.

In response, Microsoft said it “listens carefully to the European Commission’s concerns and is confident we can address them.”

With the EU, UK and US apparently criticizing the takeover, scrutiny from the world’s top market regulators has only intensified as the deal tries to find a way forward.

February 8, 2023 – Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could hurt gamers, CMA says

The UK’s Capital Markets Authority has published an interim report on its investigation that has raised many concerns about Xbox’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. This included the risks of higher game prices, less choice, and less innovation for UK players.

One area of ​​concern is cloud gaming. According to the CMA, Microsoft accounts for 60% to 70% of the current cloud gaming offering, and making Call of Duty exclusive could “change the future of gaming.”

The CMA also said that making games exclusive to Xbox “could significantly reduce competition between Xbox and PlayStation in the UK”, and “could lead to all gamers seeing higher prices, reduced range, lower quality and worse service on game consoles over time”.[.]”

February 21, 2023 – Xbox signs a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo, Nvidia

Microsoft President Brad Smith confirmed that the company I signed a binding contract for 10 years To bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo owners “on the same day as Xbox, with full features and content parity.” This deal is intended to highlight that the Xbox acquisition will not transform Call of Duty into the Xbox ecosystem, and what better way than to bring Call of Duty to a platform that the series has aggressively ignored in the past?

In particular, the promise to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo gamers with full content parity seems particularly ambitious given Nintendo’s hardware. performance problems.

On the same day, Microsoft announced a 10-year deal to bring all PC games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service, including Activision Blizzard titles. This is a direct response to the UK’s CMA concerns regarding cloud gaming since Nvidia is a major competitor in the service.

With the agreement, Nvidia dropped its concerns about the acquisition, removing at least one major technology company from opposing the deal.

With months to go before the UK’s CMA’s final report and plenty of hurdles still remaining, it’s likely that we’ll have many more episodes to go before we see any outcome to Microsoft’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s Senior Features Editor. You can access it @tweet.

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