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Microsoft Claims Sony has Mislead EU Regulators Over Call of Duty Parity

Microsoft Claims Sony has Mislead EU Regulators Over Call of Duty Parity - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 30 January 2023 / 2,326 Views

Microsoft's lead of communications Frank Shaw via Twitter claims Sony has mislead the European Union regulators over the commitment by Xbox on keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation if its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved.

"I hear Sony is briefing people in Brussels claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision," said Shaw. "Nothing could be further from the truth.

"We’ve been clear we’ve offered Sony a 10 year deal to give them parity on timing, content, features, quality, playability, and any other aspect of the game. We’ve also said we’re happy to make this enforceable through a contract, regulatory agreements, or other means.

"Our goal is to bring Call of Duty and other games – as we did with Minecraft – to more people around the world so they can play them where and how they want."

"Sony is the console market leader and it would defy business logic for us to exclude PlayStation gamers from the Call of Duty ecosystem."

Chile's regulatory authority, the Fiscalia Nacional Economica, in December 2022 released its ruling on Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition and has voted to approve the deal in Phase 1. The acquisition has also been confirmed to have been approved in BrazilSaudi Arabia, and Serbia unconditionally.

The deal still needs approval by many more regulators including in the US, UK, European Union, China, and more.

There was a report last week that claims the FTC filed the lawsuit quicker than expected as a way to dissuade the European Union regulators from accepting a settlement allowing the deal to be approved. This is according to people familiar with the investigations.

The FTC reportedly filed its complaint a matter of hours after US and European Union officials held a call about their investigations into the deal. During the call the European Union regulators said they planned to start discussions with Microsoft about a settlement.

This knowledge is what led the FTC to file the lawsuit on the same day, even though this wasn't supposed to happen until later in the investigation, according to the report. The FTC wasn't going to act until the Spring, according to the sources.

There was another report from this month that Microsoft is likely it will receive an antitrust warning from European Union regulators. The European Commission is preparing a statement of objections that will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, according to the report.

Microsoft was already reportedly looking to offer remedies to concerns the European Commission in an attempt to prevent a statement of objections and to get the deal passed sooner. However, it appears the EU regulators are not open to remedies until after it sends its statement of objections.

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 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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Azzanation (on 30 January 2023)

Not surprisingly. Sony saying MS isnt offering parity yet have given them a deal worth 10 years.

  • +5
DonFerrari (on 30 January 2023)

I hope he have receipts, because he is sprouting hearsay while being a high position MS employee.

  • -2
method114 DonFerrari (on 30 January 2023)

Seriously this seems crazy unprofessional. "I hear" from who? Then you decided to hop on twitter and post about it? What's the point? You're about to go to court with the FTC this will the the topic save your arguments for there.

  • +1
VAMatt method114 (on 30 January 2023)

This is certainly a planned release of info. Presenting it in an informal format on Twitter is intended to serve some purpose. I don't know what purpose that is, but I'm sure it's well thought out.

If it isn't, this guy will be fired straight away.

  • 0
method114 VAMatt (on 30 January 2023)

I question just how well thought out this is. At one point MS tried to argue the FTC was being unconstitutional and then had to back track on that comment.

  • 0
DonFerrari VAMatt (on 31 January 2023)

Usually this is done when there is a jury to try and manipulate it, and usually it isn't considered a good action.

  • 0
mutantsushi DonFerrari (on 30 January 2023)

Not just hearsay, disinformation. MS´ 10 year offer is not the end-all be-all of remedies, for one, yet MS treats it as if it is. It´s also silent on subscriptions which is the elephant in the room: Not only whether it would be made available on equivalent terms to PS+ (what does that even mean when MS can subsidize Xbox as much as it wants? when GP finances and profitability doesn´t even need to be broken out independently?), but what if Sony doesn´t want to pay for big AAA at launch? Can MS still put it on GamePass and call that ¨parity¨? MS says it is open to this being enforced by ¨regulatory agreements¨, well OK that needs an actual regulatory process... and regulatory agreements can be initiated by regulators, not just according to MS´ initial offer. Then their other claims are just laughably disproven: ¨It would defy business logic to withhold CoD from Playstation¨ ...Yet they do exactly that with vast majority of their 1st party, including the acquisitions from Zeni/Bethesda, just as Sony does with it´s own 1st party. 1st party exclusivity is standard for console gaming (and PC store distributors) so dismissing it like this is just not serious. MS has history of competition/monopoly violations, and regulator interest in this can extend beyond narrow scope of gaming considering MS could easily leverage this market with others. (remember when they were supposed to remove Internet Explorer from Windows, but said they couldn´t because it was tied to legacy code, so were allowed to keep it... Oh, yet now MS is force installing in Windows a totally brand new, actually Chrome-based, browser that once again is unremovable despite not being tied to any legacy code...) This simply is the largest ever game IP acquisition by platform owner, and it´s normal to expect it to receive extra scrutiny. All the more so when MS´ approach clearly isn´t concerned by short term costs, i.e. will/are subsidiz(ing) it for long term goals that can easily distort the market, which this very acquisition could easily be characterized as, as is the very point of it´s regulatory scrutiny . MS also has history of disparaging regulators, including to the point of saying it will break EU law if it conflicts with US, and their attempts to present their unilateral offer as the end-all be-all of remedies does not reflect a serious respect for regulatory process.

  • -1
DonFerrari mutantsushi (on 31 January 2023)

Have you seem their graphic explaining what games justify exclusivity and what doesn't in a way that well basically it means "whatever we decide at the moment".
Also have you seem that ABK PR person that decided to use the success of TLOU on TV to claim how unfair it is to prevent MS from buying them since Sony is ow so successfull?

  • 0
mjk45 DonFerrari (on 30 January 2023)

Hes just spouting information that has been in the public domain for ages . it was reported on here last year that after Sony raised concerns about Call of Duty then MS said they would honour any contractual obligations . this lead to what happens after those 3 years ,leading to a ten year offer.

I have questions for him, how is it that in your position you have just heard of this now and if not why bring it up again while making it sound like its just happening now.

  • +3
DonFerrari mjk45 (on 31 January 2023)

Nope, he is Sony is right now on Brussels feeding lies to the regulators, that isn't public domain nor old news.

  • 0
mjk45 DonFerrari (on 31 January 2023)

You seem to misunderstand my reply I;m saying what he is doing is continuing what is old news but pretending its new.

  • 0
DonFerrari mjk45 (on 01 February 2023)

I did understand your point, what I'm pointing out is that he is bringing other stuff together.

  • 0
scrapking DonFerrari (on 02 February 2023)

Hearsay describes an evidence's type, not its quality. Hearsay can be very strong evidence, or very weak evidence. Something being hearsay is not a reason to dismiss it.

Plus, this may not be hearsay, as there may be a paper trail. So we don't yet know if this is hearsay or not.

  • +1
DonFerrari scrapking (on 02 February 2023)

I would say not even saying the name of the person that said something would already make it basically fluffy. But yes I would like to see papertrail for it.

  • 0
scrapking DonFerrari (on 02 February 2023)
  • 0
ClassicGamingWizzz (on 30 January 2023)

I believe this unbiased random person on twitter , same for that woman that works at blizzard and non stop posts about this like her life depends on it ( or a fat paycheck)

  • -4
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DonFerrari ClassicGamingWizzz (on 31 January 2023)

I'm able to forgive them both since they really are doing their job and receiving a lot for it, but I pity the ones that can't see what it is for what it is.

  • 0
Qwark (on 30 January 2023)

Sony should respond with two words on Twitter objection hearsay, with a video of a hearsay complication of the Heard vs Depp lawsuit.

  • -6
DonFerrari Qwark (on 31 January 2023)

That is the thing, almost never you see Sony employees engaging on social media officially for anything and when they do it is to talk specifically about some project/game they are working on. They barely recognize MS existence on their tweets.

  • 0
method114 DonFerrari (on 31 January 2023)

Of course not. Sony has handled this way more professionally than MS has. Which I would expect because that's just the way business is handled in their country. It's kind of shocking the way MS is handling this whole thing. Saying what the FTC is doing is unconstitutional and all the random tweets from high level execs. I can't believe MS hasn't told them all to shut up and stop talking about it.

  • +1
DonFerrari method114 (on 31 January 2023)

Yes, it is hard to know if each employee is doing out of their own choice or coordinated (I would believe the second since big companies have or should have very strict policies about speaking in their name on social media).

  • 0