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[MarketWatch] Microsoft faces battle for Activision deal, especially if ‘Call of Duty’ is destined for Xbox exclusivity

I think the only deal that would get blocked is if they bought another actual distribution service, like Sony/Steam/Epic etc. Just content really doesn't feel like something that could be made a monopoly, but the actual access to and ecosystem of games could.

So something like this?



And this:


Sony has ex Black Ops devs and ex Destiny devs both making multiplayer games. The thing is neither of them have given even the slightest detail on what they are making, or when they will come out.
 

On Demand

Member
Sounds good.

I hope this gets blocked.

So called gamers supporting what is clearly anti consumer are hypocrites. You don't play games, you just want to see another console not get the games you're already getting. That's all this is to you.
 
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Mozza

Gold Member


EDIT: Thanks to @GHG for this, Financial Times explains in much more detail the amount of scrutiny the Microsoft - Activision | Blizzard deal's about to go through:
Denial at it's finest, so we have gone from threads stating Activision and it's franchises are not worth owning in the first place, and now the deal which is pretty much done will not go through, how many more straws are people clutching at. ;)
 
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With any deal like this the question that needs to be asked is "How many politicians do we need to buy and for how much".

You can make anything law with money, a lot less money than what was spent on the merger in the first place. Even the most crooked politician is only a millionaire.
 
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Megatron

Member
Uh huh.

I'm sure you're apart of the group that cries and complains about Sony's times exclusives.
Lol. What can I say? Payback's a bitch.

Honestly doesn't affect me either way as I own a PS5 and a Series X. But there's definitely a difference in how news is treated between the 2 companies. MS gets a 1 year exclusive for Rise of the Tomb Raider and the world almost ends. Sony repeatedly gets exclusive windows for games like Final Fantasy, Death Loop, Crash Collection, Star Wars KOTOR, and nobody bats an eye. It's hilarious watching the hypocrisy get exposed.
 

SLB1904

Gold Member
Sounds good.

I hope this gets blocked.

So called gamers supporting what is clearly anti consumer are hypocrites. You don't play games, you just want to see another console not get the games you're already getting. That's all this is to you.
 

Majukun

Member
Sounds good.

I hope this gets blocked.

So called gamers supporting what is clearly anti consumer are hypocrites. You don't play games, you just want to see another console not get the games you're already getting. That's all this is to you.
who cares about consoles, i play on pc and this deal gives my more shit for free with my gamepass.

shame i don't really care that much for cod or overwatch, but free is free (as fre as something you pay for with a sub)

this being said, regardless of what do i care for..what there's exactly to regulate here? what laws or rules would this deal break?
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Lol. What can I say? Payback's a bitch.

Honestly doesn't affect me either way as I own a PS5 and a Series X. But there's definitely a difference in how news is treated between the 2 companies. MS gets a 1 year exclusive for Rise of the Tomb Raider and the world almost ends. Sony repeatedly gets exclusive windows for games like Final Fantasy, Death Loop, Crash Collection, Star Wars KOTOR, and nobody bats an eye. It's hilarious watching the hypocrisy get exposed.
Read up on Sony's during the PS1 days where they wheel and dealed to get Tomb Raider sequels exclusive for PS1 until the year 1999. TR 2, 3 and some other game. Thats why no other TR games came out for other systems until Dreamcast got one in 2000. You'll see it in the Wiki.

Back then, nobody knew about these kinds of deals. But now we do. You dont see any Sony fan criticizing them keeping TR off Sega and Nintendo machines for 4 years.
 
What a bunch of nonsense clickbait. Does anyone here honestly think any of the out of touch, out to lunch fossils in Congress knows what the hell Call of Duty is much less care whether or not fuckin video game exclusivity would constitute "monopolistic behavior"? Hint: they don't (& it doesn't). As per usual in DC this is all about greasing palms.

Game exclusivity in no way constitutes "monopoly" no matter how many units sold. And more importantly, ActiBlizz was actively shopping itself. An acquisition was going to happen one way or another. MS is the least bad option & a net positive to rehab a company whose culture and rep has been swirling the toilet. The likely alternative - Tencent - would be a far worse steward.
 
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octiny

Member

Through the lens of someone with a Corporate Finance degree. Great watch.
Future titles will be Xbox and PC exclusive btw.
Phil Spencer cannot say exclusivity or deal will be off so he would have to act like Andrew Garfield and play the Werewolf despite us knowing that it will be exclusivity going forward for future titles.
Contracts in progress will not be canceled and will be business as usual. Current titles will be supported on PS platforms.

Microsoft is in it for the long-term haul.
This will be like the Disney acquisition of Fox, Star Wars, and Marvel.

Great watch & sums up everything just as I thought 👍
 

TGO

Hype Train conductor. Works harder than it steams.
Read up on Sony's during the PS1 days where they wheel and dealed to get Tomb Raider sequels exclusive for PS1 until the year 1999. TR 2, 3 and some other game. Thats why no other TR games came out for other systems until Dreamcast got one in 2000. You'll see it in the Wiki.

Back then, nobody knew about these kinds of deals. But now we do. You dont see any Sony fan criticizing them keeping TR off Sega and Nintendo machines for 4 years.
What you believe
Some in the industry regarded the claim of the Saturn hardware being insufficient with doubt, and suggested that the real reason for the cancellation was that Sony and Core were negotiating a deal that would involve Tomb Raider II being PlayStation exclusive.
What really happened
Tomb Raider II was no longer designed for the Sega Saturn. Following the cancellation announcement, Adrian Smith cited technical limitations of the console to program an adequate conversion.[16] Core Design had been planning for a Saturn version of Tomb Raider II to use the 3D accelerator cartridge designed for the Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 3;[17] this cartridge was cancelled before Tomb Raider II was completed.
 

reksveks

Member
If you want to look at the kinda of bills that are likely to pass.

The bill has significant implications for Amazon, Apple and Google in particular, though as it’s currently written it would also apply to other large platforms like Facebook-owner Meta and TikTok. The bill prohibits dominant platforms, defined by criteria including how many users they have and their market cap, from discriminating against other businesses that rely on its services, in what’s sometimes referred to as self-preferencing.

That means, for example, Amazon could not simply decide to list its own private label products higher in its search ranking than third-party rivals’ listings. And Apple and Google could not unfairly rank their own apps higher than rivals’ in their own mobile app stores. The same principle would apply to Google’s general search engine as well.

 
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I think the only deal that would get blocked is if they bought another actual distribution service, like Sony/Steam/Epic etc. Just content really doesn't feel like something that could be made a monopoly, but the actual access to and ecosystem of games could.
Exactly this. IP exclusivity does not constitute "monopoly" as it doesn't afford any overarching control over the mechanisms of the market itself. As when Sony and Nintendo themselves secure exclusives for their platforms these are merely ways to make their ecosystems more attractive to a wider swath of gamers. Scoring CoD, Diablo, etc...is no different. There is no "units sold" threshold that could push any game exclusivity into "monopoly" as CoD being only on Xbox wouldn't limit the ability of other developers/publishers to create similar competing products.

It would be far different if MS were to try to gobble up one of the other key platform/distribution pillars like Sony, Nintendo, Steam, etc....as this would fundamentally change how the market itself functions.
 

reksveks

Member
The Att and TMobile merger is a big one that was much less in dollar amount too.
how many mobile network providers are there? how many game publishers are ?
surely there is a difference there.

there is a whole conversation around vertical mergers but FTC are still working through that.

Also the $ amount is sadly irrelevant.
 

NickFire

Member
What a bunch of nonsense clickbait. Does anyone here honestly think any of the out of touch, out to lunch fossils in Congress knows what the hell Call of Duty is much less care whether or not fuckin video game exclusivity would constitute "monopolistic behavior"? Hint: they don't (& it doesn't). As per usual in DC this is all about greasing palms.

Game exclusivity in no way constitutes "monopoly" no matter how many units sold. And more importantly, ActiBlizz was actively shopping itself. An acquisition was going to happen one way or another. MS is the least bad option & a net positive to rehab a company whose culture and rep has been swirling the toilet. The likely alternative - Tencent - would be a far worse steward.
A sitting member of Congress (who is part of the majority, committee seat(s), etc.) already vowed the deal will be scrutinized. I think that forecloses clickbait allegations for this article.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
What you believe

What really happened

Maybe you should cut and paste the entire paragraph.

You purposely only pasted the first part.

While the original Tomb Raider was released on both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles, Tomb Raider II was no longer designed for the Sega Saturn. Following the cancellation announcement, Adrian Smith cited technical limitations of the console to program an adequate conversion.[16] Core Design had been planning for a Saturn version of Tomb Raider II to use the 3D accelerator cartridge designed for the Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 3;[17] this cartridge was cancelled before Tomb Raider II was completed.[18] Some in the industry regarded the claim of the Saturn hardware being insufficient with doubt, and suggested that the real reason for the cancellation was that Sony and Core were negotiating a deal that would involve Tomb Raider II being PlayStation exclusive.[19] In September 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment signed a deal with Eidos to make console releases for the Tomb Raider franchise exclusive to the PlayStation, preventing the Sega Saturn or the Nintendo 64 from having any Tomb Raider game released for it until 2000, a deal that would prove very beneficial to Sony both in terms of revenue and also in further cementing the PlayStation's growing reputation as the go-to system for must-have exclusive titles.[20][21]
 
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I think the deal will likely get approved. I think the regulatory bodies would step in if there is anything beyond this, maybe lol

I'm not sure why some are commenting this article is "click bait" or "rubbish" there is nothing inflammatory, controversial, outlandish or out-of-line with anything being stated in the piece. They even bring up a good example with nVidia/ARM deal. It's an opinion piece on a stock market website that cover news that could have an effects on the stock market. They don't care about the content, be it video games or not, it's the deal and what it entails and how it could effects their readers money.

You can disagree with an opinion piece, but just because it's different from your opinion that doesn't mean it's garbage.

EDIT: of course it's going to be looked at by the regulatory bodies... it's A LOT of money! It's really hard to ignore a $70 Billion dollar deal.
 
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A sitting member of Congress (who is part of the majority, committee seat(s), etc.) already vowed the deal will be scrutinized. I think that forecloses clickbait allegations for this article.
Every single substantial merger is "scrutinized". I worked on the Hill long enough to say with confidence that is just the usual pre-palm greasing rhetoric and that this deal will ultimately be finalized. The simple fact is acquiring IPs and potentially making them exclusive isn't monopolistic. MS/Xbox will still need to jump thru the usual hoops because that's how things work in DC.
 

NickFire

Member
Every single substantial merger is "scrutinized". I worked on the Hill long enough to say with confidence that is just the usual pre-palm greasing rhetoric and that this deal will ultimately be finalized. The simple fact is acquiring IPs and potentially making them exclusive isn't monopolistic. MS/Xbox will still need to jump thru the usual hoops because that's how things work in DC.
I have no doubt it will be approved, and I suspect there will be no shortage of greasing. But that doesn't make it fair to call an article predicting there will be scrutiny click bait IMO.
 
I have no doubt it will be approved, and I suspect there will be no shortage of greasing. But that doesn't make it fair to call an article predicting there will be scrutiny click bait IMO.
Oh I see, you want to discuss whether or not the article is "click bait." Fair enough. I'd say that my characterization of the article is secondary to the issue of the merger itself but we can just agree to disagree on that point. As someone familiar with said palm greasing, the article smacks of the usual "much ado about nothing", dressing up a process that is largely political theater as something substantive. 🤷‍♂️
 

rodrigolfp

Member
Maybe you should cut and paste the entire paragraph.

You purposely only pasted the first part.

While the original Tomb Raider was released on both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles, Tomb Raider II was no longer designed for the Sega Saturn. Following the cancellation announcement, Adrian Smith cited technical limitations of the console to program an adequate conversion.[16] Core Design had been planning for a Saturn version of Tomb Raider II to use the 3D accelerator cartridge designed for the Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 3;[17] this cartridge was cancelled before Tomb Raider II was completed.[18] Some in the industry regarded the claim of the Saturn hardware being insufficient with doubt, and suggested that the real reason for the cancellation was that Sony and Core were negotiating a deal that would involve Tomb Raider II being PlayStation exclusive.[19] In September 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment signed a deal with Eidos to make console releases for the Tomb Raider franchise exclusive to the PlayStation, preventing the Sega Saturn or the Nintendo 64 from having any Tomb Raider game released for it until 2000, a deal that would prove very beneficial to Sony both in terms of revenue and also in further cementing the PlayStation's growing reputation as the go-to system for must-have exclusive titles.[20][21]
God bless the pc versions freeing those TR games from the PS1 performance and IQ...
 

Ozriel

Member
Sounds good.

I hope this gets blocked.

So called gamers supporting what is clearly anti consumer are hypocrites. You don't play games, you just want to see another console not get the games you're already getting. That's all this is to you.

Who in particular have you determined doesn’t play games and is only interested in seeing games kept away from other consoles? Names?

I think your argument would also be stronger if we had you on record condemning the paying of cash to keep final fantasy off Xbox consoles.
 

TheMan

Member
We'll see. I'm no financial expert, but I just read earlier this morning that ALL OF VIDEOGAMES made 60 billion ish in 2021, which was a record. Microsoft aims to spend 7 billion more than that on Activision, so I can see how this would attract a lot of scrutiny.
 

TGO

Hype Train conductor. Works harder than it steams.
Maybe you should cut and paste the entire paragraph.

You purposely only pasted the first part.

While the original Tomb Raider was released on both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles, Tomb Raider II was no longer designed for the Sega Saturn. Following the cancellation announcement, Adrian Smith cited technical limitations of the console to program an adequate conversion.[16] Core Design had been planning for a Saturn version of Tomb Raider II to use the 3D accelerator cartridge designed for the Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 3;[17] this cartridge was cancelled before Tomb Raider II was completed.[18] Some in the industry regarded the claim of the Saturn hardware being insufficient with doubt, and suggested that the real reason for the cancellation was that Sony and Core were negotiating a deal that would involve Tomb Raider II being PlayStation exclusive.[19] In September 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment signed a deal with Eidos to make console releases for the Tomb Raider franchise exclusive to the PlayStation, preventing the Sega Saturn or the Nintendo 64 from having any Tomb Raider game released for it until 2000, a deal that would prove very beneficial to Sony both in terms of revenue and also in further cementing the PlayStation's growing reputation as the go-to system for must-have exclusive titles.[20][21]
I think that's more to do with the N64
 

Lognor

Member
🤣🤣 this is priceless! You corner the market into a monopoly but it’s the competitor’s fault!!!!!!
It's also that those products are inferior. I've used Google office apps and my employer used to have Lotus Notes. All of it is garbage compared to what Microsoft offers. If others were better maybe they wouldn't have the monopoly?
 

Megatron

Member
Sounds good.

I hope this gets blocked.

So called gamers supporting what is clearly anti consumer are hypocrites. You don't play games, you just want to see another console not get the games you're already getting. That's all this is to you.
Are you talking about MS buying Activision, or Sony repeatedly money hatting games to keep them off XBox? I'm unclear.
 
I think the only deal that would get blocked is if they bought another actual distribution service, like Sony/Steam/Epic etc. Just content really doesn't feel like something that could be made a monopoly, but the actual access to and ecosystem of games could.

Buying up all the major content can absolutely create a monopoly when the costs to compete in the AAA content area are increasingly only affordable by the largest videogame publishers.

When the 3-4 biggest publishers (Acti, EA, Ubi and TT) soak up the majority of content revenue on consoles, with their biggest franchises, buying one of those four can amount to buying up a significant chunk of the content market.

The question regulators will need to address is how much of the content market can be bought and made exclusive before it begins stifling competition (becominging a monopoly is not the threshold as the intent of regulators is to take preventative action well before a monopoly can be forged). If this deal is seen to stifle competition, it will face resistance for sure.

I actually think the Bethesda deal and eventual outcome hurts MS’s chances of this deal going through, because immediately as they passed that one they announced everything would be exclusive to their platform going forward. Given that, it’ll be very hard for them to convince regulators that they won’t just do the same thing again here.

Still, I don’t have too much faith the FTC, DOJ and EU will have the will to oppose this deal. Primarily, because I just don’t think they give a shit about gaming as an industry. If PS gamers can no longer play COD or other Activision games, it’s just not important enough to regulators to care.
 

SenjutsuSage

Halo TV Series Promoter - Live from: Reach
Another factor for anyone believing this can be stopped, this is an election year. 2022 mid-terms are coming up. You think the party in control wants to be seen as preventing an American company from better competing against Tencent, a Chinese company flanked by Sony, another foreign company? The furthest this goes is public testimony that includes affected or no longer employed Activision employees, Kotick, Phil Spencer himself, and I'm pretty sure Phil would almost certainly bring Sarah Bond also. Kotick gets roughed up. Phil and Sarah end up looking like great people, the proper people to take over and fix issues, and will also address challenges their own companies have gone through and what they did to fix them.

Politicians get their 15 minutes, they get video and played on TV at night grandstanding, and then they get to say they scrutinized it and didn't just let it pass without a hearing, so they can use that later just in case it all blows up.

Oh, and then there's another matter of this is the same year where there will be the Jan 6th, Committee hearings, because it might be their last chance to do so before potentially losing control to the Republican Party. The focus will not be in this election year on trying to stop Microsoft from owning Activision, because it would only further distract from what they're trying to say is the larger issue of voting rights and democracy itself. And if Republicans do take control, does anybody believe Republicans will stop a major merger? For one, they would have zero power to do so, as do the current Democrats have no power to stop it. They can only trigger public hearings and demand documents, which a Republican leadership would not ask Microsoft to do.

A potential Republican controlled House of Representatives is far less likely to be hostile to a powerful corporation absorbing another company. They'll likely be too busy immediately trying to start an impeachment preceding (illegitimate though it will be) against the current President. If ever there was a time to get Activision, this is the right time. Microsoft couldn't have landed this deal at a more perfect time if they tried. Only one thing could make it any better, if it were a Presidential election year. But this is as good as it gets. Trust me when I say Microsoft and Activision likely considered the election factor.

Current leadership wants the top subject to be about voting rights, infrastructure, the child tax credit and its impact on child poverty etc., and rightfully so. That they were more concerned about where Call of Duty would go than voting rights, insurrection, and kitchen table issues is not the kind of picture they want to paint going into the mid-terms. To reiterate, this deal is unstoppable. It can only be delayed, but it won't be stopped.
 

Megatron

Member
This will need to be approved in EU too right?

I can totally see EU commission mandates AB games to be multplatform.
I'm not doubting you, but why does the EU need to approve one american company buying another? Because of King? Well fuck, I'm sure MS will leave King multiplatform then.
 

Ogbert

Member
Exactly this. IP exclusivity does not constitute "monopoly" as it doesn't afford any overarching control over the mechanisms of the market itself. As when Sony and Nintendo themselves secure exclusives for their platforms these are merely ways to make their ecosystems more attractive to a wider swath of gamers. Scoring CoD, Diablo, etc...is no different. There is no "units sold" threshold that could push any game exclusivity into "monopoly" as CoD being only on Xbox wouldn't limit the ability of other developers/publishers to create similar competing products.

It would be far different if MS were to try to gobble up one of the other key platform/distribution pillars like Sony, Nintendo, Steam, etc....as this would fundamentally change how the market itself functions.
In fact, purchasing Sony or Nintendo would likely be fine as well. A monopoly, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you can simply have the best product. It is the barrier to entry that a monopoly can create which regulators ‘attempt’ to combat.

If MS did buy Sony, there would be absolutely nothing to stop Apple or Google etc taking the place of Sony. Access to the video game market is remarkably easy.

What *would* most assuredly be under review is MS pricing. The moment a significant market share is being seen to influence customer spending, alarm bells raise. But there’s no reason to see that being the case.

It’s why no one has dinged Amazon. A total and utter monopoly on how we consume goods. But it’s driven prices down rather than up, so it remains relatively untouched by regulatory oversight.
 

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
I don't know why anyone thinks the FTC is going to muddle with "console exclusivity" of a videogame.

They'd sooner say they have to sell off the IP, or sell off some of the devs to others.

I also find the concept of Sony lobbying the government to stop this, while trying to by a publisher themselves a bit strange.

I'd say they could do one or the other.. both would be a bit.. odd.
 
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I also find the concept of Sony lobbying the government to stop this, while trying to by a publisher themselves a bit strange.
Sony 'taking legal action to try and block the deal' is a really bad look for them. I can't imagine for one second they will actually go through with that. Must be absolute panic stations there if they do...
They should only get involved in any action if Microsoft breach a signed contract, and stay out of anything else.

I thought the tweet they put out about expecting Microsoft to honor the deal was ill advised and jittery, this would be next level stupid.

A deal this size will absolutely cross a regulator's desk in any industry, but it's clear it should just take a cursory glance and no more to move it on as it's just business. Just let it go through the (ineffectual at the best of times) system.

That article appears to have been written by someone with a disdain for Microsoft and/or Activision, it drips off the page. Doesn't make it realistic or likely though :messenger_tears_of_joy:
 
It will get reviewed, it may even go to mediation or court etc but it's not a defensible position at all. This deal is going through, no doubt. I'll again quote myself. -

They aren't going to run into any monopolistic regulations. It will be reviewed and the marketplace is too diverse for any company to be monopolistic within any of the gaming segments. The closed stores/apps is one side of it where those predatory walled gardens can be considered that way, MS isn't in that game anyhow. However this acquisition isn't in monopoly realms at all. Consider -
  • Mobile/tablet gaming - Apple dominate this, Google is around as well. Any regulatory body would welcome another major player consolidation to battle Apple here. Also Epic games taking Apple to court.
  • Console gaming - both Nintendo and Sony are considered top tier with larger install bases and turnover historically. They both own many studios/first party IPs etc. Nothing to regulate here. Microsoft has their own programs such as Xbox@ID or Gamepass as well as competitors too. Both Nintendo and Sony have Gamepass-lite versions already too.
  • PC - Epic games store, Valve/Steam, projects like Star Citizen etc can all clearly compete at a game level, studio/publisher level and app store level. Again no cause for concern.
  • Streaming - Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Playstation Now, Tencent Start and a smattering of others exist already too. Many of those steaming platforms also own/buy studios too.
  • Publishers- there are large publishers and small ones throughout all chains of the gaming industry e.g. Sony, Nintendo, EA, Apple, Bandai/Namco, Google, Tencent. No cause for monopoly here at all.
There is nothing in a regulatory capacity for this acquisition to not go through. The free market is doing its job rather nicely in terms of the gaming industry, irrespective of platform or device.

As for the angle of workplace harassment you'd be hard pressed to find a more inclusive and proactive "top 10" company than Microsoft. Given the recent Activision and Sony shite Microsoft look like Mother Teresa here currently anyhow. How about comparison to Tencent? The regulators don't have squat.
 

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
You mean on Microsoft Windows?

Or is Microsoft going to start releasing all their games on Linux and MacOS?

MS is in support of Steam Deck, which runs on Linux.. so sort of?

I'm sure they'd be fine releasing to Mac if it mattered.

You do make a good point though as regulators would probably ask the same thing. But regulators are also aware of things like digital stores, and MS can use the Steam excuse.

Honestly MS's openness about Steam, while awesome for PC gamers, could simply be leading up to scenarios like this one where they have to argue their growth in court.
 
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