Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is still confident that the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be approved, and said, “if this is about competition, let us have competition.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, Nadella says, “Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny, but we feel very, very confident that we’ll come out.”
A key concern, particularly for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, has been that the merger could be anti-competitive for the gaming industry as a whole. However, Nadella points out that Microsoft’s main competitor, Sony, has also acquired studios, including big ones like Bungie.
Nadella continues, “So if this is about competition, let us have competition.”
Concerns surrounding the anti-competitiveness of the merger center around franchises like Call of Duty potentially becoming exclusive to Microsoft platforms. Xbox’s Phil Spencer has already confirmed that he’d like to keep Call of Duty a multiplatform franchise for the time being, but add its titles to Xbox Game Pass in order to make it accessible in different ways to Xbox customers.
But PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan lambasted Xbox’s offer of extending Call of Duty’s availability on PlayStation for only three additional years after existing contacts expire, calling it “inadequate.”
Other companies, such as Electronic Arts, think that a successful merger could mean new opportunities for their own franchises. CEO Andrew Wilson says that the multiplatform nature of the Battlefield franchise could benefit from Call of Duty potentially becoming a Microsoft-exclusive one.
The near $70 billion deal is by far the biggest gaming buyout of its kind, and is being scrutinized by regulators across the world. The deal is undergoing investigaton in the UK, US, Brazil and more – a final decision is still likely to be months away at least.
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey