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Phil Spencer: Sony Spending More Time With Regulators Than Microsoft About Activision Blizzard Deal

Phil Spencer: Sony Spending More Time With Regulators Than Microsoft About Activision Blizzard Deal - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 07 December 2022 / 3,376 Views

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in an interview with Bloomberg claims that Sony hasn't shown interest in working out a deal with them over keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years and has been spending more time with regulators. 

"There’s been one game industry participant that’s really been raising all the objections, and that’s Sony, and they’ve been fairly public about the things that don’t meet their expectations," Spencer said. "From where we sit, it’s clear they’re spending more time with the regulators than they are with us to try and get this deal done."

He added, "Our intent is to become more relevant on more screens. We have a pretty good idea of how to build a win-win relationship with Nintendo and frankly Sony."

Spencer this week announced Microsoft has entered a 10-year commitment with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms if Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition is approved.

Microsoft has also committed to keep releasing Call of Duty on Steam alongside Xbox after the deal closes.

"Microsoft has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King," said Spencer. "Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play."

He added, "I'm also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on Steam simultaneously to Xbox after we have closed the merger with Activision Blizzard King."

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has so far been approved in BrazilSaudi Arabia, and Serbia unconditionally.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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46 Comments
2zosteven (on 07 December 2022)

Sony has purchased several companies over the years and now complain because the have been out purchased?

  • +5
pitzy272 2zosteven (on 07 December 2022)

No one’s saying Sony is innocent, but there is a clear difference between buying a likely $50mil Housemarque or a <$300mil Insomniac vs a $69bil Activision.

There’s also a difference in approach: Housemarque and Insomniac and almost every other company Sony purchases has a extensive history of working with Sony, most times in an exclusive manner, where Sony has helped to foster the studios’ games; so, buying them doesn’t really take anything away from MSFT/Nintendo. It’s why virtually no one complained when MSFT bought Playground and the State of Decay developer. The difference is that almost every other developer MSFT buys has had a long history of creating games for Sony and/or Nintendo, and MSFT buys them just to take them away from PS.

Is Sony some moral company? No, and there may even be some other reason why they don’t do what MSFT does; but regardless, I respect and appreciate their and Nintendo’s approach to acquisitions much more than MSFT’s.

  • +7
Azzanation pitzy272 (on 07 December 2022)

No bro. Buying is buying. Just because a brand can spend more is a reality check to them.
Sony entered the gaming industry when they were the biggest tech giant and drawfed anything Nintendo and Sega can offer to 3rd parties. Sony are now feeling the same pain they inflicted on their competitors in the 90s.

  • -6
kazuyamishima Azzanation (on 08 December 2022)

What pain they inflicted to Nintendo and Sega in the 90’s?

  • 0
Azzanation kazuyamishima (on 08 December 2022)

Gee i dont know, Maybe taking all the big publishers that were huge on Nintendo to help boost PS1 sales.

  • 0
kazuyamishima Azzanation (on 08 December 2022)

And, can you remind me again, why 3rd parties chose Sony instead of Nintendo at that time?

  • 0
Azzanation kazuyamishima (on 08 December 2022)

Sony admitted to taking and hording IPs from Nintendo and Sega to compete with the PS1. You think devs would just pack their bags and leave the market leader with no manipulation from Sony?

  • 0
kazuyamishima Azzanation (on 08 December 2022)

There were several factors why sega and Nintendo sold less than Sony during the PS1 era and none were Sony manipulating or hoarding IP’s from others.

  • 0
Azzanation kazuyamishima (on 08 December 2022)

The CEO literally admitted to taking IPs away from Nintendo to compete. Take it up with him. Debating with me does not change historic fact.

  • 0
Trentonater Azzanation (on 08 December 2022)

No one had to be convinced to work on the ps1 over the n64 or the saturn. it was the obvious choice and didn't have their problems. Cartridges were developer poison by then.

  • 0
Azzanation Trentonater (on 09 December 2022)

You understand that companies weren't exactly jumping over to PS when they heard about 3d and CDs until Sony influenced them right? Heck games like FF7 had prototypes on the N64. If you want to believe that devs just switched because of CDs which was a huge risk at the time over the market leader than you are in denial.

  • 0
LivncA_Dis3 pitzy272 (on 08 December 2022)

Agree with dis

  • -1
Manlytears 2zosteven (on 07 December 2022)

are you realy comparing, i mean....

Sony: buy, over many years, medium/small-sized longtime partners who grew up making games almost completely exclusively for you, and in this way, foster the emergence of new Ip. and gaming experiences coming from these studios, growth practiced by Playstation and Nintendo.


MS: Buying a publisher, by the way, bigger than all the Xbox studios put together, not encouraging the emergence of something new, but simply wanting to grow the position in the market (mobile/consoles/PC) using IP. already established by the company.

I really don't understand where the Xbox users wins here... apparently nothing new will be created with this purchase, it's simply excluding Playstation from future games from franchises like Diablo, overwatch, warcraft, star... I mean, "yeah, CoD and other ABK games on gamepass!!!", but is this realy such big deal for you guys !??

  • -2
Azzanation Manlytears (on 07 December 2022)

The obvious win is parity with CoD for starters.

  • -4
Manlytears Azzanation (on 08 December 2022)

Is 1 month early DLC more important than creating new IP., growing inhouse studios/teams, New studios, etc?

For real, i speak with all respect... you can choose.

  1. All ABK stuff, except CoD, exclusive to XBOX

    Vs

  2. All ABK stuff (not exclusive) and many, let's say 6, New IP. and Studios working on never seen before Xbox games, more stuff like what's happening inside Playground Games/Ninja Theory/obsidian/Coalition....

    For real, option 2 is what Xbox fans need to defend. Making multiplatform stuff exclusive doesn't make Xbox better, Just makes Playstation worse!! MS is the only one taking the big Win here, players are either losing (Playstation) or gaining more "options" for DLC/gamepass.

    Again, with all due respect, I can only justify choosing "option 1" as "hate for Playstation". It's want to see games coming exclusivly to Xbox/PC (maybe Switch??).
    Why!?

  • +1
Azzanation Manlytears (on 08 December 2022)

They are doing both. Buying and creating.

  • -2
kazuyamishima (on 07 December 2022)

Tell Them Phil!!!

  • +3
Kneetos (on 07 December 2022)

I think Sony doesn't want to lose the 1 year exclusivity deals they have been enjoying for the ps4's life

With Microsoft getting call of duty Sony could lose that exclusivity and in their minds, sales.
Sony don't want to compete, they just want to dominate.

  • +3
drkohler (on 07 December 2022)

Since we don't know (and likely will never know) what the financial details are in those deals, any discussion or fingerpointing is moot.
It is perfectly clear that the sudden MS/Nintendo deal is purely a reaction to Sony throwing wrenches into the acquisitîon.

  • +3
DonFerrari drkohler (on 07 December 2022)
  • -15
mjk45 drkohler (on 07 December 2022)

Exactly no Sony spanner no 10 year deal for anyone.

  • 0
Sogreblute (on 07 December 2022)

Sony wants this blocked because of...
1) Call of Duty going Game Pass Day One would hurt PS software/hardware sales even if they still get Call of Duty.
2) They will no longer have marketing rights to Call of Duty, which is a huge blow for Playstation Marketing.
3) Microsoft would suddenly be huge in the PC and Mobile game space because of Blizzard and King. Sony have no presence on Mobile and barely any presence on PC.
4) When this deal passes Microsoft can resume buying more studios/publishers.

  • +2
Qwark Sogreblute (on 08 December 2022)

With Fates Sony is one of the biggest mobile game on the planet. It's very famous in Asia.

https://sensortower.com/blog/fate-grand-order-revenue-4-billion

This game made as much revenue for PlayStation as 100 milion sold PlayStation games. (They don't all sell for 70 euro)

  • +1
Chazore (on 07 December 2022)

Just take the goddamn bloody deal Sony, Jesus Christ this is getting really stupid to watch.

  • +1
KratosLives Chazore (on 08 December 2022)

No way. Then EA next , ubisoft. Just no.

  • 0
Chazore KratosLives (on 08 December 2022)

Ubisoft honestly needs to be put out back and shot.

  • 0
KratosLives Chazore (on 08 December 2022)

With that I agree.

  • +1
Brimac19 (on 08 December 2022)

Regulators aren’t stupid. They know MS’s history. I t wasn’t that long ago Phil was saying we’re not purchasing Bethesda to take games away from our competitors. Deal goes through. Phil-Oh by the way we are taking games away!!!

  • -1
UteGuy (on 08 December 2022)

Yeah because you offer them a garbage deal and then lie about it to the public. Why would they want to work with execs that have shown bad faith? At the end of the day the regulating bodies own investigations will determine if it is anti-competitive, not Sony or Google... But I don't blame Sony for not wanting to deal with them anymore.

  • -1
darthv72 (on 07 December 2022)

sony should take the deal... its a guaranteed 10 years with the option to extend if they want to.

Or... if they continue to bitch then they get nothing. "You lose... good day sir!"

  • -2
VAMatt darthv72 (on 07 December 2022)

I don't think Sony has anything to lose. MS is going to keep CoD on their system anyway. By not signing, Sony keeps hope alive that the deal will be blocked. Also, they may be able to extract further concessions. Maybe they can get MS to say that they won't put it on Gamepass for 30 days after launch, or something. Or, maybe they'll use it to get MS to give them favorable terms for allowing Gamepass on PS. It could be anything, really.

In any case, Sony looks ridiculous here. And, they know they look ridiculous (though really only a tiny segment of the gaming population is paying attention). They also have an army of lawyers to negotiate and/or read the landscape to tell the execs how this deal is likely to play out. Remember, they're a giant company too (not as big as MS, but still very big), with PR people, lawyers, and various other analysts both on staff and retained from outside firms. So, we can confidently say that they aren't making themselves look ridiculous for no reason. They're either looking for further concessions from MS, or they see a decent chance of blocking the deal completely. Or, maybe there is some other angle that I can't think of. One thing's for sure though: they do have an angle.

It doesn't seem likely that the deal will be blocked. So, my guess is that they are playing hardball with the negotiations here.

  • +6
Qwark VAMatt (on 07 December 2022)

They are playing a risky game though like you said Microsoft is unlikely to get this merger trough without consessions and keeping COD on PlayStation is likely one of these concessions. We also don't really know which strings are attached to the ten year deal.

  • +1
mjk45 Qwark (on 07 December 2022)

Not really, ideally they would like the deal to not go through but keeping up the pressure means they stand a better chance of getting more favourable concessions than if they ease off, the only way this would be risky is if they read the room wrong and the board was in favour of the deal going through untouched and we all know from all the jockeying that isn't happening, another thing to consider is a major part of Sony's stance here is future deals and what effect their and MS's responses may have on the nature and outcomes of any future deals.

  • 0
scrapking VAMatt (on 07 December 2022)

You're right that Sony is almost certainly safe for getting CoD this generation, with or without a deal. It's future console generations where it could become a question mark, without a deal, IMO. I don't expect it to be a question mark, unless Sony goes into a protracted period of decline, though.

  • +2
ClassicGamingWizzz (on 07 December 2022)

As they should. Keep crying.

  • -10
DonFerrari (on 07 December 2022)

Sony already have access to ABK games so they gain nothing from the deal, why would they help you out Phil?

  • -10
DroidKnight DonFerrari (on 07 December 2022)

They do have plenty to lose by not working with Microsoft so in the end, Sony's unwillingness to sit down at the negotiation table is what could ultimately harm them. It may already be to late for that anyways.

  • +7
DonFerrari DroidKnight (on 07 December 2022)

Nope, whatever concessions MS have to give because of the regulators will be given. They won't say "well since you didn't want to deal with MS their purchase will go without concessions to you".

  • -4
DroidKnight DonFerrari (on 07 December 2022)

They have already begun to lose standing with the public and are being labeled as greedy, hypocritical, delusional, out of touch,..etc...etc. They may still receive some concessions as far as the deal is concerned, but the damage they are doing to the brand could leave scars for years.

  • +6
DonFerrari DroidKnight (on 07 December 2022)

Yes, I'm certain that this damage to their image is gigantic.

  • -3
method114 DroidKnight (on 07 December 2022)

lol seriously? MS literally tried to take away the ability for consumers to buy used games for their console but you think this silly thing is going to scar Sony for years? If MS can recover from such an anticonsumer move this will be nothing for Sony. Also lets not forget when MS tried to raise xbox live prices to force people to switch to gamepass and the backlash was so big they reversed it like two days later.

  • -5
pitzy272 DroidKnight (on 07 December 2022)

Greedy…goodness. Explain how they are more greedy than MSFT in this situation. Sony is 100% acting out of its own best interest, but so is MSFT. But only one of them is buying the largest game publisher outside of the big 3/Tencent and has a recurrent history of buying strictly multiplat studios just to turn their games exclusive.

Did you read the new information that came out from this acquisition? It confirmed that CoD ALONE is “redacted” times larger than all of PlayStation’s first party games COMBINED. That’s absolutely insane. And it doesn’t consider the other massive franchises ABK owns, like Overwatch 2, which had 25mil players in its first few days of release—5x more players than Sony’s largest game release in its history (GoWR at 5.1mil sold in week 1); Diablo, which is probably even more massive than Overwatch; World of Warcraft; etc.

Anyone who: 1. Doesn’t see why Sony, who also has their shareholders as their first priority, would want to fight this deal; 2. Thinks MSFT is a victim, here; and 3. That it represents fair and reasonable competition for a company 20x larger than another to essentially pay to win with an acquisition of this magnitude (in addition to about 10 other acquisitions in the past 2-3y), then I really don’t understand their thought process. I don’t care whether it’s Google, Apple, MSFT, Meta, or Amazon, they should not be able to throw their ungodly levels of cash around for acquisitions on such massive scales in order to beat out markedly smaller competition. All those companies have drawn attention from regulators for MUCH smaller acquisitions, so I’m shocked that the general consensus is that this deal will go through.

  • -1
DonFerrari pitzy272 (on 07 December 2022)

And it is always "in this very specific cut of the market we are so small that we buying this major player doesn't upset the market at all".

  • -1