What you need to know
- Microsoft is working to acquire Activision Blizzard for almost $69 billion.
- The deal is undergoing regulatory review, with Microsoft’s console competitor Sony arguing that the deal should be blocked.
- In the latest round of documents, Sony argued that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard will allow Microsoft to raise console prices.
- Sony recently raised the price of the PS5 in all markets except for the U.S.
As Microsoft and Sony continue putting forward legal arguments around the future of Activision Blizzard, new angles and amusing anecdotes abound for both companies.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the U.K. is examining the deal for Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard, and as part of the Phase 2 investigation, the regulator published statements from Microsoft (opens in new tab) and Sony (opens in new tab). These findings, which were originally submitted back in October but are just now becoming public, outline the arguments from both companies.
As part of its argument, Sony puts forward the idea that after acquiring Activision Blizzard, “Microsoft would be able to: increase console and game prices for Xbox users (including those that had switched from PlayStation); increase the price of Game Pass; and reduce innovation and quality.”
This notably comes just months after Sony recently raised the price of the PS5, citing high inflation rates around the world. At the time, Microsoft stated that it would not be raising the price of the Xbox Series X|S in a similar fashion. Sony was also one of the first publishers to raise the price of its premium games to $70, alongside others such as Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive and Electronic Arts.
More recently, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer indicated that the company “may not be able” to keep the price of games, Xbox Game Pass, and new consoles the same forever, but that it was important to do so for at least the 2022 holiday period.
Elsewhere in the documents, Microsoft again reiterates in numerous ways that it has no intention of pulling Call of Duty from PlayStation. Microsoft points out that it has honored past agreements like when acquiring Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax Media, which saw Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo release as timed PS5 console exclusives. Microsoft also pointed out that no games from Bethesda Softworks have been pulled from PlayStation since the acquisition was completed.
As of right now, the deal has been approved by some countries like Brazil, and Microsoft currently believes it will finalize sometime before June 30, 2023.