The CMA has shared Activision Blizzard King’s latest response to them as part of their most recent dump of documents about the Microsoft – Activision deal. Surprisingly enough, Activision is scolding them.
The CMA’s provisional findings reports that Activision intends to put their games on the cloud. Activision has flat out denied this in their response. Furthermore, Activision says that the CMA has been misrepresenting their statements to create this fake narrative.
This is a mess to get through, but to start, Activision explains the reasons they aren’t eager to enter could gaming on their own. To sum, the reasons they cite are:
- Cloud gaming has technical limitations
- Cloud gaming is a tiny segment of the market
- Cloud gaming is a transient (impermanent) technology
- Activision Blizzard is currently successful in the mobile gaming or free-to-play business
We’ll pass on other parts of the document for now, but let’s talk about what Activision Blizzard has been correcting the CMA for.
On pages 11 – 12 of the document, they say these:
“The Provisional Findings suggest that Activision Blizzard [REDACTED] become important inputs to cloud gaming services absent the Transaction. This contradicts all available evidence, including the sworn testimony of the two executives whose [REDACTED] for Activision Blizzard to [REDACTED] toward cloud gaming.”
They then refer to several documents that the CMA has completely misrepresented. They have cut even the name and contents of this document, but let’s go through what Activision says the CMA misrepresented:
“The Provisional Findings misrepresent a [REDACTED], to suggest that Activision Blizzard was [REDACTED].
In fact, the draft merely highlights how Activision Blizzard discusses various opportunities for developing business and growth, including new and emerging aspects of the gaming industry. Not all such opportunities, unsurprisingly, become approved commercial strategy.”
The passages below refer to a second document.
“The Provisional Findings cite an Activision Blizzard internal document which states that “[REDACTED]” and notes possible considerations relating to cloud gaming in the near-, near-mid, and long-term, to argue that Activision Blizzard is pursuing cloud gaming. The Provisional Findings also cite this document to suggest that such considerations [REDACTED].
Read in context with the entire body of Activision Blizzard’s documents, many of which were produced by employees as higher levels in the organisation, however, it is clear that these snippets are consistent with Activision Blizzard’s [REDACTED], as outlined below.
Indeed, the document clearly shows that Activision Blizzard does not [REDACTED]. It is merely brainstorming ideas.”
We’re skipping ahead again to Activision talking about emails they have shared that the CMA has misrepresented.
“The Provisional Findings refer to an email from [REDACTED] as evidence for why Activision Blizzard’s internal documents supposedly do not [REDACTED]. However the CMA appears to overlook that the statement is made only with respect to the subset of customers benefiting from [REDACTED] and is therefore clearly not true for every household.
In Activision Blizzard’sview, [REDACTED] for the subset of consumers benefiting from a solid internet connection and location proximity to servers [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] notes in the same email that [REDACTED], indicating that technical viability and latency will continue to be an issue for a sizeable proportion of gamers. It is precisely because not all gamers will have a “[REDACTED]” that Activision Blizzard has not placed and [REDACTED].
“Indeed, the fact that Activision Blizzard has not placed its games on any cloud gaming service in the 2 years since this email is the most relevant piece of evidence.”
To sum, Activision is making serious claims to the CMA that they are just flat out lying about what Activision has said about cloud gaming. Activision may have known that this document will go public.
However, it was more important for them to point out this disparity to the regulators themselves. The point of this response is not to anger the regulators, or to embarrass them, but to convince them to review their findings since they were made from wrong interpretations.
On the side, Activision likely also doesn’t want the industry and gamers to think that they were going to go into cloud gaming when they weren’t. The release of those provisional findings may have already given some fans some idea about their upcoming games. Activision already explained Diablo 4 would not be joining Game Pass.