Microsoft has been attempting to persuade Sony that it will continue to support Call of Duty on the PlayStation if its massive Activision acquisition is approved, however, the two firms have been unable to come to an agreement on the specifics of any potential contract. Microsoft is obviously upset by this, and it is looking for partners to allay regulators’ worries.
Why is Microsoft looking forward to Nvidia and Nintendo fighting against Sony?
Nintendo and Nvidia have both stepped up to support Microsoft in an effort to allay regulator worries. Today at a special press conference in Brussels, Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed the business’s stance on the transaction and referred to Sony as a “very dominant company” that outsells Xbox gaming consoles and is opposed to competition in the shape of the Activision acquisition.
Smith as well as other Microsoft officials met with European politicians to discuss Call of Duty and Activision. At discussions today, executives from Nvidia, Google, Electronic Arts, Valve, and the European Games Developer Federation were present, along with Xbox Chief Phil Spencer and other senior Microsoft executives. PlayStation Chief Jim Ryan and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick were also in attendance. Furthermore present at the discussions were six different national competition watchdogs.
Microsoft announced it had reached a new agreement with Nvidia, which runs the GeForce Now cloud gaming service, while still fitting in meetings and phone conversations to allow the acquisition to go through. It hopes that the agreement will ease some concerns about the direction of cloud gaming, Microsoft’s dominance over Xbox games, and maybe Activision Blizzard games on other services. This is another reason why Nintendo and Microsoft agreed to release Call of Duty on Nintendo hardware on the same day that the franchise’s Xbox games do.
Smith, however, omitted any information from the behind-closed-doors discussions in favour of attempting to present a picture of a dominant Sony that has been grumbling about Call of Duty access. The PlayStation’s Ryan and the Xbox’s Spencer engaged in a public back-and-forth about the Activision acquisition last year, and Microsoft said that “Sony has emerged as the strongest objector”. Spencer confirmed the offer in a statement to The Verge, and Microsoft initially offered Sony a deal to retain Call of Duty on the PlayStation for “many more years” beyond an existing marketing deal.
The sarcastic remarks continue. Sony has claimed that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could “harm developers and lead to price increases,” while Microsoft has accused Sony of paying developers to keep their content off of its Xbox Game Pass service. Sony lawyers referred to Microsoft’s requests to inspect Sony employee performance reviews as “obvious harassment” in files for an FTC lawsuit brought against the acquisition.
The decision to approve the acquisition ultimately rests with regulators, despite the fact that Sony and Microsoft can argue back and forth all day. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft’s agreements with Nintendo and Nvidia will be sufficient to persuade authorities, but Microsoft is undoubtedly trying to avoid having to defend its arrangement in court in both the US and Europe.
A final decision on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision must be made by April 11 in accordance with a timeframe imposed by EU regulators. The US, UK, and EU regulators’ reactions to Microsoft’s new arrangements as of today are currently being watched.