During a recent episode of the Second Request podcast, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has criticized Sony for trying to “make Xbox smaller” as opposed to improving their own product and services. Spencer made reference to how Sony has been the major opponent of Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, a deal that has been the subject of an ongoing antitrust investigation due to both company’s impact on the gaming industry.
Phil Spencer has been an outspoken critic of Sony’s constant antagonism towards the deal and now he’s called the company out saying that “Sony is trying to protect their dominance on console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller”. Spencer goes on to criticize Sony for being slow to adapt to other revenue streams such as subscription services like Xbox Games Pass and their unwillingness to release first party games on PC where they might enjoy purchases they would otherwise miss.
The Call of Duty franchise has been a focus point for Sony’s criticisms of the deal, the popular First Person Shooter series enjoys international recognition. Sony has cited fears that Microsoft’s ownership of the franchise (which as of now belongs to Activision-Blizzard) will harm Sony’s ability to compete in the market. Spencer addressed these claims directly and seemed to imply that this fear was less than sincere. Spencer pointed out that he and Microsoft have said repeatedly they would be making offers to release Call of Duty on multiple platforms, including a willingness to release it on PlayStation, he went on to say that “because Sony is leading all of the dialogue around why this deal shouldn’t go through to protect their dominant position on console, the thing they grab onto is Call of Duty”. Microsoft has upheld this by offering deals to all major console manufacturers such as Nintendo and Sony, and even ensuring that online retailer Steam was getting a similar deal for PC releases.
Not only has Microsoft been willing to make these deals in the first place with a 10 year time limit, but Phil Spencer has gone on to explain that the limit is only a formality.
It’s just about picking an expiration date, not with the goal of ever expiring, but just like, the legalese of a document has to say this goes through some date. But once we start working with a platform, just like we have with with ‘Minecraft,’ both on PlayStation and on on Nintendo’s platform, our goal would be to continue to support those customers.
The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a closed-door meeting on the acquisition on December 8.