Microsoft has decided to respond to the CMA's allegations, the UK regulator that is evaluating the acquisition of Activision Blizzard carried out by the Redmond giant. An answer that quickly spread on Twitter yesterday and was analyzed for several hours, given the amount of information that Microsoft has provided to the CMA.
The answer is decidedly long and complex and comes just when the CMA has decided to block Meta's purchase of Giphyto protect consumers. A signal that clearly shows all the risks of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which after the ok from Brazil seems to falter in the United Kingdom as well. Analyzing it is obviously not easy, so we will focus on the most important data and significant declarations of the Redmond giant, which apparently also sent Phil Spencer to London on a mission to be able to unblock a delicate situation, which risks blowing up one of the richest deals this industry has ever seen.
The major criticism that Microsoft has made to the CMA (the second, given the response a few days ago) concerns the game minutes. According to the Redmond giant, the position of Xbox would have been overestimated, given that only the minutes relating to the United Kingdom were analyzed and also included the historical franchises of Xbox Game Studios, such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War. Not a small problem: the entire analysis of the CMA would therefore have been distorted by estimates calculated incorrectly. We then move on to spending, or rather to the money that users put into the official stores to be able to buy video games: according to Microsoft, there would be no clear evidence that Call of Duty, the real point of contention between Sony and the Redmond colossus, pushes users to purchase multiple video games on the same platform. In short, the shooter would not be a driver for player expenses.
Jesus, Microsoft's full response to CMA's Phase 2 Referral is brutal in its systematic picking apart of inaccuracies. Microsoft also counters a major finding by CMA, pointing that when CMA cited minutes played for Microsoft and ABK content in the UK, they ONLY showed Xbox data.
— Senjutsu Sage (@SenjutsuSage) October 18, 2022
Precisely with regard to Call of Duty, the speech that Microsoft addresses is decidedly important and extends over several points, obviously including the denial of wanting to make the series exclusive on Xbox consoles. In Redmond, no one ever intended to want to take the series away from PlayStation. Actually the major criticisms of the CMA they concerned the inclusion of the game within the Xbox Game Pass and specific bonuses linked to subscribers of the service, but the same criticisms can be leveled at Sony, which continues a policy of closure towards PC and Xbox players, blocking or limiting access for 30 or more days to some exclusive content.
We then move on to the accusations: Microsoft claims that Sony may have falsified Call of Duty revenue data. The lawyers of the Redmond giant would later demonstrate that even if Call of Duty became Xbox exclusive, PlayStation would still have more monthly active users compared to the competition. Underlying this, the CMA's first complaint becomes practically useless.
Microsoft's response continues by also mentioning PC and Nintendo: if Call of Duty really were such a strong reality to guide players, it would not be explained why the Kyoto house still grinds high numbers and why Steam, despite deprived of the shooter, has held such a strong market position, so much so as to push Activision Blizzard to return to the Valve client.