Xbox Corporate Vice President of Game Creator Experience & Ecosystem Sarah Bond made the unusual step of reaching out to Xbox fans who supported them throughout these past few months on the issue of the Microsoft Activision deal.
“The Xbox community support & advocacy for the ABK acquisition is epic. We may not always agree with outcomes – but we’re encouraged almost 40 countries have approved, and are continuing constructive dialog to move forward.
Staying positive & respectful of all involved is key to realizing our vision of bringing everyone who loves to play, together. Thank you.”
Let’s take a few minutes to analyze that message. The first sentence is really the only one where Sarah expresses her gratitude.
The second sentence may seem confusing, because Sarah is no longer referring to the fans, because they are not the one who ‘don’t always agree with outcomes’. Actually, it’s the countries and regions whom they have been convincing to accept the deal.
Sarah cites the now 40 countries and regions who have approved the Microsoft Activision deal, many of whom did so without even adding any conditions for that approval.
Much of the attention of the coverage has been the three major regulators that Microsoft saw as the biggest hurdles against their ability to get the deal to push through. That would be America’s FTC, the relatively newer UK CMA, and the European Commission on Competition.
However, there was a bit of confusion on how exactly these regulators were important to Microsoft’s deal and how much impact they can actually create.
As we now know, the FTC suing Microsoft to block the deal actually isn’t enough to really block it. On a procedural level, Microsoft and FTC can lock horns about it for years, but they don’t have to wait on that case’s outcome to finish their deal.
The European Commission, in contrast, was one of the 40 countries and regions that approved the deal. They also made that approval unconditional, indicating they agreed with Microsoft’s arguments and proposed remedies.
Finally, the CMA is the one in the spotlight. While there was also a point where people assumed the CMA could effectively block it because of the way their competition rules work, we now know that those rules aren’t the final word.
The CMA’s decision is now facing harsh scrutiny from MPs like Bim Afolami, and is already in the process of being appealed in the Competition Appeals Tribunal.
To be clear, the CMA did have independence to make their own decisions. This particular decision, however, is bound to harm the UK in real life, not only in the eyes of other companies, but other countries. Based on what we know, the CAT will be using their procedures to force CMA to come up with a decision that allows the deal to go through.
Sarah’s last message is what fans really need to listen to, though. In the end, Xbox don’t want their own fans to compromise the deal with the console war noise that has surrounded coverage of this story for the past few months. As Sarah says, stay positive and respectful, as Microsoft is more than capable of getting the deal through on their own volition.