Microsoft Activision Deal Sony CMA Ruling

Sony Calls UK Regulator ‘Irrational’ for Changing Stance on Microsoft Activision Deal

Sony is not pleased with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for reversing its stance on the Microsoft Activision deal. Its updated provisional ruling in late March found that the deal would not result in a “substantial” lessening of competition in the country, a position that Sony finds “surprising, unprecedented, and irrational.”

Sony finds the latest CMA ruling to be based on “extreme assumption”

In a now public document called “SIE Observations on PFs Addendum,” Sony believes the new Addendum provisional ruling is based on faulty reasoning. The document is a bit of heavy read, but Sony says that the ruling apparently ignores data that Microsoft would have an incentive not to include Activision games on PlayStation consoles in the future. In particular, Sony says that doing so would be of “strategic value to Microsoft” in its expansion of Xbox Game Pass.

Sony also claims that the CMA underestimates the gains that Microsoft would get from making Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive by a large margin. This is partly because Call of Duty players are not “average users” because they tend to spend a lot more than the regular platform user.

The CMA’s ruling stated that CoD players with less than 10 hours of gameplay or who have spent less than $100 on the game would not switch platforms after the deal, ostensibly from PlayStation to Xbox. Sony disputes this multiple times as “unsupported speculation,” an “extreme assumption,” and “pure conjecture.”

The ruling also used Minecraft as an example of Microsoft releasing a popular game on multiple platforms despite owning Mojang, but Sony believes that Minecraft and Call of Duty are not comparable due to difference in graphics and user engagement. Even then, Sony says that Microsoft has “blocked Chrome OS’s access to Minecraft’s consumer edition,” revealing the company’s intentions to make its games exclusive.

It finds Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax far more indicative of what the company would do in making Activision games exclusive to Xbox if the merger were to be approved.