Brazil Approves Microsoft Activision Acquisition, Says It Doesn’t Need To Protect PlayStation – Forbes

Brazil Approves Microsoft Activision Acquisition, Says It Doesn’t Need To Protect PlayStation – Forbes

Brazil Approves Microsoft Activision Acquisition, Says It Doesn’t Need To Protect PlayStation – Forbes 2048 1304 charlie

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, speaks a media briefing before the opening day of … [+] the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on June 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Microsoft is doing a world tour in trying to get a host of countries’ regulatory bodies to sign off on its nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the largest in industry history. They have just won one country over at least, Brazil, who has now approved the deal without any stipulations.
What’s notable about Brazil’s approval is the case they make for why they don’t seem to mind this deal going through. Namely, the regulatory body there (CADE) is saying that they do not have a responsibility to protect the interests of a specific competitor like Sony/PlayStation, and even if Microsoft does take Call of Duty and all other Activision games exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem, that’s not a move that would hurt competition across the entire market. Here’s what they said exactly (via ResetEra):
“Furthermore, it is important to highlight that the central objective of CADE’s activities is the protection of competition as a means of promoting the well-being of Brazilian consumers, and not the defense of the particular interests of specific competitors…In this sense, although it is recognize that part of the users of PlayStation consoles (from Sony) could decide to migrate to Xbox in the event that Activision Blizzard games – and especially Call of Duty – become exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem, SG/Cade does not believe that such a possibility represents, in itself, a risk to competition in the console market as a whole.”
Living room with Microsoft Xbox Series X (L) and Sony PlayStation 5 home video game consoles … [+] alongside a television and soundbar, taken on November 3, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
In other words, Brazil is saying what many have been pointing out about this Sony/Microsoft debate from the start, that both console makers have used exclusives to draw customers to their side for eons, and this is no different just because Call of Duty is a larger series on the whole. And perhaps most importantly, Brazil doesn’t even care if Microsoft is being disingenuous about letting Call of Duty stay on PlayStation indefinitely, as the point is even if they change their mind, it’s not a move that would be fundamentally anti-competitive for the market.
I guess the argument here is that if you say Call of Duty going Xbox exclusive someday is harmful, where do you stop? Sony recently bought Bungie, and even if everyone swears Destiny would remain multiplatform after that, no one really seemed to question the move based on the possibility that could now happen, and it was quickly approved. The same is true for Microsoft’s Bethesda deal which is already starting to produce Xbox exclusives. If Starfield is a hit, it could be a huge hit, based on the last decade plus of Skyrim, and that’s now something that’s not on the PlayStation ecosystem. So why was that approved? Call of Duty is just…bigger. The deal is just bigger.
But…too big? I guess that’s the crux of the counter-argument against the purchase, and what Sony is trying to convince regulators of, even if it’s fundamentally self-serving. I do think Sony’s case is dramatically undercut by say, Nintendo never having a new Call of Duty game launch on it in ages, yet the Switch is absolutely killing it on the back of Nintendo’s own original titles. And I mean, PlayStation is also killing it because of Sony’s exclusive, original titles. So I just don’t think the argument fundamentally holds up, as big as this deal is, and even if the consolidation of the industry does feel icky on a certain level. We’ll see if other countries, where the deal is still being scrutinized, agree.
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