In the Latest Xbox-Activision Blizzard defense, the president of Microsoft likens Sony to Blockbuster

In the Latest Xbox-Activision Blizzard defense, the president of Microsoft likens Sony to Blockbuster

While the video game industry waits to see if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will file an antitrust lawsuit to stop Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is once again stating that the proposed deal is “good for gamers.”

Brad Smith, Microsoft President, and Vice Chairman, wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Wall Street Journal. In it, Smith talked about Sony’s position as the biggest opponent to the acquisition.

“Sony has emerged as the loudest objector,” Smith wrote. “It’s as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix.” To close his piece, Smith said, “Think about how much better it is to stream a movie from your couch than drive to Blockbuster. We want to bring the same sort of innovation to the videogame industry.”

Smith continued Microsoft’s strategy of self-deprecation by stating that Xbox “remains in third place in console gaming, stuck behind Sony’s dominant PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch,” despite comparing Sony to the outdated video store.

The president of Microsoft also said that Xbox doesn’t have enough games to get people to sign up for Xbox Game Pass and that Microsoft wants to keep Call of Duty as a franchise for multiple platforms.

“To get subscribers to this service, Microsoft needs a full library of popular games and, as things stand, we simply don’t have enough,” Smith wrote.

Politico reported in November that the Federal Trade Commission was “likely” to file an antitrust lawsuit to prevent the enormous acquisition. “Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anticompetitive effects is completely absurd,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson stated.

The report noted that the lawsuit is not guaranteed and that the four commissioners of the FTC have not yet met with Microsoft and Activision’s legal counsel. The FTC commissioners, on the other hand, are said to be skeptical of the companies’ arguments. The fact that the commission has recently filed a lawsuit to stop two huge mergers suggests that the same could happen here.

“Microsoft is gearing up to contest that decision in court” if the FTC files an antitrust lawsuit.

Microsoft has made a number of statements in an effort to get the merger through, the most recent of which is Smith’s opinion piece. Throughout the acquisition review process, Microsoft has stated that Call of Duty will continue to be available on PlayStation following the acquisition. Microsoft has also said that PlayStation is too big to fail and that Xbox has “a number of significant disadvantages” over its competitors.

Sony is also playing the self-deprecating game, claiming that “Game Pass leads PlayStation Plus significantly” and that Battlefield cannot keep up with Call of Duty.
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition has already been scrutinized by the European Commission, multiple U.S. senators, New York City, and the U.S. Justice Department, and the FTC’s investigation is the latest obstacle.

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