Xbox chief Phil Spencer has come out with some fighting words in the latest development surrounding the Microsoft and Activision saga. Since Xbox announced the proposed $69 billion agreement to acquire Activision in January 2022, Sony have done everything within their power to stop the deal.
There’s been a lot of frustration from the Xbox side, and Spencer seems to have had enough of it. When speaking on the Second Request podcast, Spencer had this to say about Sony’s efforts to derail Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision:
“There’s really only been one major opposer to the deal and it’s Sony, and Sony’s trying to protect their dominance on console, and the way they grow is by making Xbox smaller.”
Spencer added that the two companies have different views of the industry. He mentioned that Sony differs in how they ship their games on PC and launch them on their subscription service.
He also accused Sony of spinning the acquisition into an anti-competitive practice as a method to protect their dominant position in the video games market.
Spencer’s Tone Regarding Sony Seems To Have Changed
When Microsoft announced this deal earlier in the year, they said their focus was the evolution of gaming, particularly mobile gaming. They wanted to direct all the attention towards how this deal would be great for mobile gaming, cloud gaming, and Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service – and how this deal would supposedly help gamers move on from consoles.
Microsoft also mentioned that they’d be making Activision games available to other video game platforms. They recently agreed to a 10-year deal with Nintendo regarding the latter’s rights to release Call of Duty titles as well.
Spencer had previously spoken to The Verge about how Microsoft offered this same deal to Sony, in an interview that seemed to focus on creating a friendly presence as the battle played out in the media. As it turned out, Sony rejected this deal, sticking by their conviction that even the possibility of Microsoft having exclusive rights to Call of Duty’s future was too much of a risk.
The deal is being investigated in multiple jurisdictions, with the most recent – and perhaps most substantial – hurdle for Microsoft being the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has had its fair share of arduous run-ins with tech giants in the country before. With the legal fight now on in 16 countries, of which only two have okayed the deal, Spencer’s bold statement could be a big move away from the previous PR position he might have been attempting.
No Closer To A Resolution
Spencer’s latest comments won’t go down well with Sony. Sony have been quiet recently and offered no comment on Microsoft’s 10-year Call of Duty offer.
This week, Microsoft claimed that they’d offered the FTC a consent decree which promised that Microsoft would make the Call of Duty esports titles available to rival companies like Sony. The FTC rejected this decree but such a proposal will still have substantial bearing on the future of this case.
The Call of Duty segment of this takeover seems to have cannibalized all the other news stories related to this deal. Of course, Microsoft should have seen this coming. If the deal goes through, they’ll be one of the biggest players in the video game industry.
Microsoft will also become the third-largest video game company in revenue if this deal goes through. They have been in Sony’s shadow for a while now and this is the marquee deal that would change that status quo if it went through – Sony seems all too aware.
Microsoft seem like – so far – they are willing to make a lot of compromises to ensure this deal goes through. They’ve even downplayed the quality of the best Call of Duty games in a statement to convince interested parties that the franchise isn’t as big a deal as Sony are making them out to be. However, it seems like with the developments involving the FTC, Microsoft may not play the nice guy for much longer.