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Phil Spencer Responds to Activision Acquisition concerns from UK watchdog "choice is crucial for players moving forward"

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Earlier today, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed that it had "concerns" over Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and now Xbox's Phil Spencer has penned a long public letter in response.

Speaking on the Microsoft website, Spencer recognised that "regulators, game developers and players" have been asking what the acquisition means for the industry, and pointed out that "choice" is crucial for players moving forward:

"To reach the billions of players where they are and no matter what device they play on, we need to embrace choice. Giving players choice in how they play their games makes gaming more accessible and leads to larger, more vibrant communities of players.
Choice is equally important to developers. Developers benefit from having a diversity of distribution and business models for their games. Choice unlocks opportunities for innovation and enables the industry to grow."
Spencer says that Microsoft is expanding choice in two ways - through Xbox Game Pass, and by bringing more games to mobile devices through cloud gaming technology. He's confirmed that the likes of Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty will be included in Game Pass in the future, which he says will deliver more value to players and therefore hopefully extend the service's appeal to "mobile phones and any connected device".

Here's a bit more about what he thinks about bringing Activision Blizzard games to xCloud:

"This promises to open up mobile gaming, creating new distribution opportunities for game developers outside of mobile app stores while delivering compelling and immersive experiences for players by using the power of the cloud. And we can extend the joy of playing to devices that people already own, including Smart TVs and laptops."
Spencer then went on to mention that "we will pursue a principled path", reiterating that "the same version of Call of Duty [will be] available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere", along with promising to continue to support cross-play initiatives and "engage with regulators with a spirit of transparency and openness".

"We respect and welcome the hard questions that are being asked. The gaming industry today is robust and dynamic. Industry leaders, including Tencent and Sony, continue to expand their deep and extensive libraries of games as well as other entertainment brands and franchises, which are enjoyed by players everywhere. We believe that a thorough review will show that the combination of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will benefit the industry and players."
So there you go! A big, long response from the Microsoft Gaming CEO there. The CMA had previously stated that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard had five working days to submit proposals regarding their concerns, so we'll have to now wait and see if the UK authority ends up going ahead with a "Phase 2 investigation" or not.
https://www.purexbox.com/news/2022/...nds-to-concerns-over-activision-blizzard-deal

Basically Phil is arguing that buying Activision allows players more choices, and allows Microsoft to reach potentially billions of gamers worldwide, while increasing accessibility to games worldwide. He also wants to create opportunities for mobile developers outside mobile app stores, unlocking innovation, and gives all developers in general broader access to players that aren't possible without the acquisition.

So Sony or fans on PS, Switch, or PC, should be happy about the buyout because it gives developers more opportunities and expands gaming.

Do you agree with Phils argument?
 

BennyBlanco

aka IMurRIVAL69
Do you agree with Phils argument?

No, because there’s nothing stopping him or his successor from doing the opposite of what he’s saying here to appease regulators. It’s not like he’s signing a contract to keep COD everywhere forever.

Selfishly I’m not worried about anything because I know PC will always get everything and that’s really all I play on right now. But this kind of consolidation is not a good sign for how things will play out long term.
 

FergusFrost

Member
https://www.purexbox.com/news/2022/...nds-to-concerns-over-activision-blizzard-deal

Basically Phil is arguing that buying Activision allows players more choices, and allows Microsoft to reach potentially billions of gamers worldwide, while increasing accessibility to games worldwide. He also wants to create opportunities for mobile developers outside mobile app stores, unlocking innovation, and gives all developers in general broader access to players that aren't possible without the acquisition.

So Sony or fans on PS, Switch, or PC, should be happy about the buyout because it gives developers more opportunities and expands gaming.

Do you agree with Phils argument?

No, because its nonsense.

Forcing people into your ecosystem is the opposite of choice.
 
Pull out and buy something else Phil, you’re paying too much for status quo.
This is obviously a potential outcome, they're certainly not going to continue with the acquisition if it goes against their business model. The whole point of this buyout is to further establish GP as the best gaming subscription service. Someone suggested COD wouldn't go to GP until Sony's Activision deal expires, which is obviously nonsense.
 

SlimySnake

Member
savage GIF


Good to see MS get called out for this. The gaming media/fanbases didnt do this. I remember Phil said something about evaluating bethesda games on a case by case basis when the deal was first announced only to immediately state that Starfield and Elder Scrolls will always be exclusive as soon as the deal was closed. There is always double speak there. He shrewdly leaves himself enough room to wiggle himself out of any non-commitments. Good to see these watchdogs seeing right through it.

You dont spend $70 billion to keep CoD multiplatform.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
The gaming media/fanbases didnt do this. I remember Phil said something about evaluating bethesda games on a case by case basis when the deal was first announced only to immediately state that Starfield and Elder Scrolls will always be exclusive as soon as the deal was closed.
nah, I 100% put any of that shit on the retarded fanbase. It's been extremely easy for me to follow what the plan is. Call of Duty is similar to Minecraft. Pretty much everything else is going to be console exclusive / PC / Cloud. The amount of repeated clarifications required for people to grasp that Starfield wasn't coming to PS was peak retard.
 

Wohc

Banned
Lol, it’d be crazy if they’d have to make concessions because of a game that haven’t even been released yet while they published 2 games on the competitors platform
Even more if you count in Minecraft and Psychonauts 2. I said it before, i think Microsoft will keep all exisitng ips crossplatform and only new ips may become exclusive.
 
savage GIF


Good to see MS get called out for this. The gaming media/fanbases didnt do this. I remember Phil said something about evaluating bethesda games on a case by case basis when the deal was first announced only to immediately state that Starfield and Elder Scrolls will always be exclusive as soon as the deal was closed. There is always double speak there. He shrewdly leaves himself enough room to wiggle himself out of any non-commitments. Good to see these watchdogs seeing right through it.

You dont spend $70 billion to keep CoD multiplatform.
COD will be MP its been explicitly stated, this is just the UK flexing its small muscles. It won't make any difference anyway the deal will go through one way or another.
 

Ansphn

Banned
Pull out and buy something else Phil, you’re paying too much for status quo.
Its not status Quo. COD is the last ditched effort to save Gamepass/Xbox from waving the white flag and becoming a 3rd party publisher. But I think COD will die under Microsoft just like Halo did.
 

NickFire

Member
Someone should put them in the hot seat about console gaming specifically. Make them explain why they refer to mobile devices and smart TV's in the context of fair / unfair competition concerns. I'm sure there are people genuinely worried about competition in mobile and smart tv gaming. I've just never met one.
 

Neofire

Member
If that's they case then players already have choices with Activision being 3rd party. They wouldn't have to worry about MS stalling/prioritizing content for platforms outside of there own.

But I get Phil is a "say whatever sounds good at the moment type of guy" so his response isn't surprising.
 

ANIMAL1975

Member
Basically Phil is arguing that buying Activision allows players more choices...
Shit i thought that an independent publisher/dev would allow players more choices, have a larger audience.... Turns out it's the other way around thanks Phil.
 
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BennyBlanco

aka IMurRIVAL69
UK: "Yeah man but we're really concern in... You know... You start doing what PlayStation has been doing for years while having a bigger market share... Like, let my friend PlayStation and their $70 games alone ok?"

That’s the other thing. It’s hard to feel bad for Sony who just loves dropping off a bag of cash and keeping things off other platforms. I wish neither of them were buying up established devs and would just agree to stop the moneyhats and timed exclusives. It benefits nobody.
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
No, because its nonsense.

Forcing people into your ecosystem is the opposite of choice.

You can choose to play on

Mobile phone, like discontinued LG smartphone with Xcloud.

You can play on random laptop and PC

You can Play on Xbox One or Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X

You can play via smart TV.

or you can play just on PC, PS5, Xbox Series.

Phil gives you two more options than you would have had if Microsoft did not do you a favor and brought out the biggest and oldest third party video game company, which also was the first in history, you would have less choice.


/s
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
savage GIF


Good to see MS get called out for this. The gaming media/fanbases didnt do this. I remember Phil said something about evaluating bethesda games on a case by case basis when the deal was first announced only to immediately state that Starfield and Elder Scrolls will always be exclusive as soon as the deal was closed. There is always double speak there. He shrewdly leaves himself enough room to wiggle himself out of any non-commitments. Good to see these watchdogs seeing right through it.

You dont spend $70 billion to keep CoD multiplatform.

To defend Phil, somewhat, he didn't double speak at all, he did release Bethesda games on a case by case basis, including Deathloop and Ghostwire. He left ESO alone for new content as well as other games already released on competing gaming hardware.

Now what Phil should have done was buy Activisions IP and subsidiaries one by one like COD, Crash, Tony Hawk, King, Blizzard, and then made the company worthless, than buy the whole thing for $5. The only reason why this is an issue is that this buyout will give MS everything that' valuable at Activision all at once.

Its not status Quo. COD is the last ditched effort to save Gamepass/Xbox from waving the white flag and becoming a 3rd party publisher. But I think COD will die under Microsoft just like Halo did.

Lol. Gamepass doesn't need COD, it's even making devs like IO more money in revenue. No one is dying to anything.
 

SlimySnake

Member
nah, I 100% put any of that shit on the retarded fanbase. It's been extremely easy for me to follow what the plan is. Call of Duty is similar to Minecraft. Pretty much everything else is going to be console exclusive / PC / Cloud. The amount of repeated clarifications required for people to grasp that Starfield wasn't coming to PS was peak retard.
I really dont see why this is different from Starfield. One was a 7.5 billion purchase, the other is $70 billion. Both were made to bring more EXCLUSIVE content to Xbox. Microsoft makes billions in profits every year. like $50 billion last year. They dont need the pitiful $2 billion in profits Activision/Blizzard generates every year. That purchase will pay off in 35 years. It's not about adding revenue or adding profits to their portfolio. The purchase is about getting CoD and ALL the cod users to come to the Xbox ecosystem. You call the starfield non-believers retarded but you are literally doing the same thing. No one is buying MS's repeated PR claims. Not Sony, not the authorities. Just you.

The only way I can see CoD coming to PS5 is if MS holds it hostage until Sony allows Gamepass on Playstation which they wont and thats why you are seeing Sony fight this in court. No one is that gullible. No one believes they are buying THE biggest franchise EVER to offer games more choice. They are doing it to win back all the 360 casual COD gamers who left them in the PS4 era. Thats it. Thats the end game. Everything is else is lies to get this through the courts and regulatory bodies.
 

Zathalus

Member
Even if COD is made exclusively to Xbox, so what? Are exclusives suddenly a bad thing now? Haven't console manufactures been doing this for decades by this point? Sony also literally just bought out Bungie, how is that different?
 
Even if COD is made exclusively to Xbox, so what? Are exclusives suddenly a bad thing now? Haven't console manufactures been doing this for decades by this point? Sony also literally just bought out Bungie, how is that different?

Bungie is its own multiplatform publisher, and will release its upcoming titles on all the machines...Zenimax, on the other hand...🤷‍♂️
 
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Zathalus

Member
Bungie is its own multiplatform publisher, and will release its upcoming titles on all the machines...Zenimax, on the other hand...🤷‍♂️
So Sony says. And we should believe them instead of Microsoft why? Before we point out Bethesda, Microsoft made zero promises on those games bring exclusive or not, but here they have been very clear with the messaging regarding COD from the start.

Also, I honestly dont care if future Bungie games are PS5 exclusive, because I'll just buy them on the PS5 and not be a little bitch about it.
 

SlimySnake

Member
Even if COD is made exclusively to Xbox, so what? Are exclusives suddenly a bad thing now? Haven't console manufactures been doing this for decades by this point? Sony also literally just bought out Bungie, how is that different?
Keep in mind this is one of the biggest acquisitions in history if not the biggest. The biggest I believe was the 20th Century Fox acquistion by Disney but that only happened after the Comcast efforts to buy it were rejected due to monopoly concerns. Funny how Disney buying it didnt raise those concerns though.

I think this deal will go through. You are right. Exclusives have always been a thing and Sony just bought Bungie themselves. But surely you can see there is a difference between 1 studio and the biggest publisher in gaming? Especially after buying another huge publisher for $7.5 billion?
 

Zathalus

Member
Keep in mind this is one of the biggest acquisitions in history if not the biggest. The biggest I believe was the 20th Century Fox acquistion by Disney but that only happened after the Comcast efforts to buy it were rejected due to monopoly concerns. Funny how Disney buying it didnt raise those concerns though.

I think this deal will go through. You are right. Exclusives have always been a thing and Sony just bought Bungie themselves. But surely you can see there is a difference between 1 studio and the biggest publisher in gaming? Especially after buying another huge publisher for $7.5 billion?
Sure, it's totally a matter of scale. But Bungie is hardly the only company Sony has bought recently and from all accounts certainly won't be the last.

Besides buying companies is only part of the picture. What about the numerous Sony exclusives Sony has paid for over the past number of years? Just because Sony hasn't bought these companies out doesn't mean much when the outcome is the same for the average consumer.
 

SlimySnake

Member
Sure, it's totally a matter of scale. But Bungie is hardly the only company Sony has bought recently and from all accounts certainly won't be the last.

Besides buying companies is only part of the picture. What about the numerous Sony exclusives Sony has paid for over the past number of years? Just because Sony hasn't bought these companies out doesn't mean much when the outcome is the same for the average consumer.
You are right. I am just pointing out why you are seeing the concern from authorities. It's the fact that it is a purchase, not a loan like the timed exclusive deals Sony cuts. It's also because its huge. Like 30 studios in one. The $70 billion price tag also raises concerns. But I agree, it will go through. It SHOULD go through. MS should be allowed to buy them just like Sony is allowed to buy their own studios one by one.

The only thing I will point out is that nothing is stopping MS from going to Activision and cutting them a $200-300 million check to put this on gamepass once Sony's deal expires in a couple of years. Netflix does the same with their content. $200 million to Martin Scorecese. $500 million for Seinfield. I think they paid $1 billion for like 3 years of Friends. Paid $400 million for two Knives out Sequels. You have to pay millions to get something as big as CoD. Highly doubt Sonys marketing deal is worth a couple of hunderd million and even if it is then so what? With 25 million monthly subs, Phil should be able to spend $250 million for CoD in 1 out of the 12 months of the year. Write that month off and aim to make a profit off the next 11 months.

If it costs $500 million a year. Write off 2 months. Take the hit. CoD sales were down to less than 4 million last year. Thats $280 million. You think Activision wouldnt take a guaranteed $250 million? MS has billions more to spend than Sony, they can easily outbid them every year for CoD.

If they really wanted CoD on gamepass, they could just spend $250 million a year. Maybe $500 million a year instead of spending $70 billion. This is about putting Sony out of business or putting game on Playstation. And everyone knows that which is why you are seeing the monopoly concerns. With Nintendo effectively out of the console war race, sony leaving will leave MS as the only console manufacturer. And thats what they are trying to determine right now.
 

Barakov

Gold Member
Phil says a lot of shit, doesn’t he?
Oh yeah, for sure. He always tries come off as a nice guy who is all for the gamers, blah, blah blah. BUT you definitely can see it on his face that he's waiting for the right moment to show everyone his true colors. If this deal goes through and when Sony's publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard ends you know that E3/next Xbox show/whatever he's going to show up and tell everyone how the next Call of Duty will be exclusive to Xbox on consoles.

And you know he won't give a single fuck about it
Vince Mcmahon Dancing GIF by WWE
 

yurinka

Member
His goal is to make COD exclusive but his PR is "Choice?!"
He never said his goal is to make COD exclusive. He said today again, and very clearly, that they will continue releasing the future COD games on PlayStation and (this part they didn't specified it until today) that they will do it on day one and did mention again (they did it in the acquisition SEC filing) Minecraft as example.

Their main goals with the acquisitions is to secure content for GP and in game subs yes, to make it exclusive for game subs. But not console exclusive, they plan to continue selling their biggest existing IPs in rival consoles as multiplatform releases.
 
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