Microsoft is frantically trying to complete this massive agreement with Activision Blizzard (Activision for short). The acquisition has not only taken longer than expected to complete, but it has also drawn intense regulatory scrutiny and threats to be shut down unless Microsoft turns up a portion of its firm. Executives in Redmond have made some pledges as a result, the most recent of which is to grant Sony a 10-year contract for Call of Duty.
Sony voiced its opposition to the transaction to regulators almost immediately after it was announced that Microsoft will pay $69 billion to acquire Activision. It has consistently used the company’s most successful property, Call of Duty, to frame its defence and present a picture of how, if the acquisition is approved, only Microsoft will ever see another CoD game.
Microsoft has often disputed that it would lock the popular gaming franchise inside the Xbox walled garden. It continues to state that it has every intention of upholding any contracts signed before the acquisition became known. However, regulators are intensifying their inquiries into the agreement while Sony keeps bringing up the matter.
In the most recent development, Microsoft has claimed that earlier this month it made an unconditional 10-year offer to Sony to keep making Call of Duty video games on the PlayStation. Sony has not responded to the assertion, but Microsoft President Brad Smith told The New York Times that the deal has a lot on the line. If it doesn’t work out, it raises serious doubts about whether businesses may still gain from acquisitions in the future.
“If this deal had happened four years ago, this would hardly be of any interest,” said Smith. “If one cannot do something easy, then we’ll all know you can’t do something hard.”
Microsoft must persuade regulators in 16 countries that the purchase will benefit customers.
Only Saudi Arabia and Brazil have granted their approval thus far. Serbia is also probably going to agree soon. Other countries, especially the US, UK, and EU, have done nothing but tighten their examination of the agreement.
Smith believes that Activision’s acquisition will ensure future expansion. With Xbox generating more than $15 billion annually, Microsoft’s gaming segment has grown to constitute a sizable chunk of its revenue stream. The tech behemoth from Redmond is so invested in the revival that it offered Activision $3 billion even if the merger fails.
According to Microsoft’s official statement, the agreement allows more gamers to enjoy games regardless of their preferred platform, which positively impacts customers. This conveniently ignores the fact that it refers to cloud gaming with a Game Pass subscription, which is unquestionably in Microsoft’s best interests.