In the UK, the CMA is calling for an in-depth investigation amid concerns that “Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming.”
However, the company’s CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer says that buying Activision might actually help to ensure those big franchises stay available on multiple platforms.
In a blog post, Spencer wrote: “We’ve heard that this deal might take franchises like Call of Duty away from the places where people currently play them. That’s why, as we’ve said before, we are committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere.”
While this once again confirms PlayStation gamers won’t be without Call of Duty, Spencer also implied that other big hitters like Overwatch and Diablo will not become Microsoft-exclusives, even though they are coming to Game Pass.
“We intend to make Activision Blizzard’s much-loved library of games – including Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty – available in Game Pass and to grow those gaming communities.”
The key phrase there is “grow those gaming communities”. It would be difficult to do this if the company were, for example, planning to take the games from around half of console gamers.
Microsoft says that when the deal does go through, it will “pursue a principled path” by ensuring cross platform play also continues, as it has since it purchased Minecraft from Mojoang in 2014.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has gone to bat for the planned $70 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. Government regulators in Brazil are also probing the proposed deal, which led to some quite juicy nuggets appearing in the filing, including Microsoft’s admission that Call of Duty would struggle to turn a profit without PlayStation gamers.