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Bobby Kotick Says If UK Blocks Microsoft's Activision Deal 'They Will be Death Valley'

Bobby Kotick Says If UK Blocks Microsoft's Activision Deal 'They Will be Death Valley' - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 07 February 2023 / 8,569 Views

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in an interview with CNBC stated that if the UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) were to block Microsoft's acquisition of the company it would hurt the ambition of the UK to become the Silicon Valley of Europe.

"You look at the UK and you think about post-Brexit UK, it’s probably the first country where you’re seeing a recession, and like the real severe consequences of recession," said Kotick via VideoGamesChronicle.

"If you’re the UK and you have an incredibly educated workforce, you have a lot of technical talent, places like Cambridge where the best AI and machine learning is, I would think you’re going to embrace a transaction like this where you’re going to see job creation and opportunity.

"And it really isn’t at all about whether it’s Sony or Microsoft’s platform, it’s really about the future of technology. And they’ve said now, for the last year, I think Rishi Sunak has said they’d like to be the Silicon Valley of Europe or of the continent, and if deals like this can’t get through, they’re not going to be Silicon Valley, they’ll be Death Valley."

Kotick stated he thinks the regulators in the US, UK, and European Union are confused as to who is competing with who in the video games business. He says the competition is against the companies in Japan and China.

"Whether it’s the FTC or the CMA or the EU, they don’t know our industry, so they’re trying to come up to speed and understand the industry better," he said. "I don’t think they fully appreciate that it’s a free-to-play business, that the Japanese and Chinese companies dominate the industry. You look at Sony, you look at Nintendo, they have these huge libraries of intellectual properties. Sony studios goes back 80 years, Nintendo has the very best characters that exist in video games.

"And I think they are a little bit confused where competition is today. The best companies in the world right now are companies like Tencent and ByteDance, and these are companies that all have protected markets. We’ve struggled to enter the Japanese market, we can’t enter the Chinese market without a joint venture partner, so the competition isn’t actually European companies, American companies, it’s really those companies in Japan and China."

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved in Brazil, Chile, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia. There has been pushback against the deal with the regulators in the US, UK, and European Union.


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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41 Comments
G2ThaUNiT (on 07 February 2023)

Dude is just pissed at the possibility of not getting his golden parachute lol

  • +20
2zosteven G2ThaUNiT (on 07 February 2023)

much of his golden parachute comes from the people who continue to play call of duty

  • +5
Azzanation G2ThaUNiT (on 07 February 2023)

I think once you have several billions sitting in the Bank account, $200m+ isnt going to change anything. There is more to it than money.

  • +3
Jumpinbeans (on 07 February 2023)

What an idiot. He sounds desperate. If the FTC blocks it then - m sure that Bobby Kottick would love to move the company out of the US...rather than be based in a Death Valley type country lol.

  • +8
The Fury (on 07 February 2023)

Activision could invest in the UK right now without MS, MS could invest in the UK right now without Activision. All companies could. Why don't they?

  • +6
Qwark The Fury (on 08 February 2023)

Because it's not attractive to do so

  • 0
Ka-pi96 The Fury (on 08 February 2023)

Because people like to invest where they can make the most money, that isn't the UK.

Recently I read something from a British game designer who moved to Bulgaria to set up his own studio. It's just easier in every way. Lower wages, lower rent, lower energy prices, lower food costs, lower taxes. Easier access to a huge pool of potential workers with the EU and no need for visas etc.

You'll be selling games to the same people for the same prices regardless, so there really is no benefit to investing in the UK over other European countries right now.

  • 0
The Fury Ka-pi96 (on 08 February 2023)

Video game industry is the biggest entertainment industry in the UK (around 40% of the market). There are tax breaks for UK based video game companies.

Plus:
"If you’re the UK and you have an incredibly educated workforce, you have a lot of technical talent, places like Cambridge where the best AI and machine learning is, I would think you’re going to embrace a transaction like this where you’re going to see job creation and opportunity."

What is stopping them? Is some $70bil merge just to make his idiot wallet bigger the reason they shouldn't invest right now?

But the subject was about the UK so the comment is about the UK, they also aren't investing anywhere. This $70 bil is going into this guys pocket.

  • +2
Ka-pi96 The Fury (on 09 February 2023)

The video game industry being big in the UK isn't really relevant. There's no need to have any physical presence in the UK to benefit from that market.

The "incredibly educated workforce" isn't much of a positive. It seems like video game devs are on the lower end of tech salaries. If all your employees have the qualifications for higher paying jobs (and are used to the relatively high salaries/quality of life that the UK provides) you're going to have a harder time there unless you increase salaries (and therefore decrease your profits) to compete.

While there are tax breaks, I doubt they're enough to make the UK more worthwhile for a new studio than other countries. Plus other countries offer tax breaks too.

  • 0
The Fury Ka-pi96 (on 09 February 2023)

Of course, you are right but this isn't about whether they invest in the UK over another country, it's about an investment in the first place. He talked about how the UK should be interested in this 'transaction' because of the things he mentioned, because it could create jobs and opportunity.

Both of those things Activision and MS could do right now in the UK if they wanted. But instead he outlines what is basically an ultimatum. "Approve this deal and we'll invest in the UK."

  • 0
Kristof81 The Fury (on 08 February 2023)

Why would they? They have 400M+ EU market next door (where 50% of citizens speak fluent English, if language might be the barrier) or wealthier 300M+ US market across the pond, both with a huge pool of potential employees. Or they can simply outsource people from anywhere in the world. This isn't 80's anymore

  • 0
VAMatt (on 07 February 2023)

I think he's correct on this one.

  • +4
Ayla (on 07 February 2023)

He is right about China and Japan.

  • +4
Mystro-Sama (on 07 February 2023)

UK: "Is that a threat, bruv?"

  • +3
Manlytears (on 07 February 2023)

Sounds desperate as fuck, CMA blocking this is very likely, at least 50% chance.

  • +3
Kakadu18 (on 07 February 2023)

I must agree with the last two paragraphs.

  • +3
zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

Lets not miss his main point here people. I know the is people like ClassicWhizz here who well i wont say the rest. Main point is companies from China have been able to buy buy buy with no restrictions. Yet if a company from outside china wants to enter they need to get a chines partner to do it for them. Just look at the whole WoW thing.

  • +3
zero129 zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

Heck i bet most of the Sony fans here who is against this deal wouldnt care if it was Tencent buying them they wouldnt be making half the deal they are now out of it. You guys are worried about what Ms might do in the future my ass, otherwise you would be worried about what tthem chinese companys will do.

  • -4
DonFerrari zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

Yes they wouldn't because Tencent is 3rd party. If Sony was buying ABK you would see the world complaining about it.

  • +5
zero129 DonFerrari (on 07 February 2023)

Sony would lock ABK to Playstation and hold CoD for a Year away from all other platforms plus Sony is much bigger in gaming then Ms so this deal for Sony would give them close to a monopoly But that is taking away from my original point. If you want china to own all gaming and still act concerned about this deal with Ms i just have to laugh at you and anyone else who says the same. I mean china is so good right?.

  • +3
DonFerrari zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

I haven't anything in favor of China, but since you accept that Sony would get more screams about purchasing than MS then not sure why you are complaining that less people would complain if Tencent bought it.

  • +4
G2ThaUNiT zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

You're not wrong. At the rate Tencent is going, they'll be majority stakeholders in the entire gaming industry within the next several years. Tencent could've bought ABK and the blowback would've been minimal. People complain about consolidation, but it doesn't matter when it comes to Chinese companies doing most of the consolidating lol. Rule only applies if you're a platform holder.

  • +7
Azzanation (on 07 February 2023)

Would they just not sell their products in the UK moving forward? That would cause a massive upset.

  • +2
ConservagameR (on 07 February 2023)

Sony may be Japanese but PS is based in America is it not?
Maybe Bobby should convince Phil to offer a much better deal to Jim for the sake of Western gaming.

  • +2
Chazore (on 07 February 2023)

As much as I hate his guts, he does have a point, in regards to China/japan competing against the rest of the world in the industry.

Ever since Brexit, the UK has never really been the same, more splintered than before and unsure about it's place in the world, blocking the deal with just show that they are opposed to doing anything for themselves really.

  • +2
DonFerrari (on 07 February 2023)

How would ABK being bought by MS in USA helps UK become Silicon Valley of Europe? Such BS.

  • +2
Nuvendil (on 08 February 2023)

A threats, a sure fire way to make friends ans influence people.

Also, it's hard to argue that a merge with/purchase by Microsoft will create jobs when Microsoft has been conducting large scale layoffs.

  • +1
Brimac19 (on 08 February 2023)

I would like to see big Publishers off limits to all buyouts whether it’s Sony, MS, Nintendo, Tencent, etc!!!!!

  • +1
Dante9 (on 09 February 2023)

If Bobby Kotick is this pissed, you are doing something right.

  • 0
EnricoPallazzo (on 08 February 2023)

Microsoft should go on a buying spree of smaller studios, nobody would notice. Its much harder when you are buying such a huge company.

  • 0
CaptainExplosion (on 07 February 2023)

I only wanted the deal to go through just so they could get rid of him.

  • -5
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Bandorr ClassicGamingWizzz (on 07 February 2023)

This is a weird take. Probably goes too far. I'm not sure it adds anything and it's kinda creepy.

That said I'm checking to see what other mods think first. So be cautious.

  • +5
ClassicGamingWizzz Bandorr (on 07 February 2023)

If you gona ban every one that says something about kotick just ban the whole site. Another barrage of reports, just make a rule here and tell people that everyone that is against the deal is forbidden to comment.

  • -1
Kakadu18 ClassicGamingWizzz (on 07 February 2023)

Why get pissy like that?

  • +3
zero129 ClassicGamingWizzz (on 07 February 2023)

Honestly if you get banned its noting got to do with this article or kotick as you like to say and more to do with how your in every single MS article trolling ms fans with sound bites. All someone has to do is look in any MS article and they will find you with the same trolling tactics.

  • +1
Ayla zero129 (on 07 February 2023)

How is he not permanently banned?

  • 0
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smroadkill15 ClassicGamingWizzz (on 07 February 2023)

If you think what you said is not different than someone saying they oppose the deal, then that's on you. You can say you oppose the deal without making it weird and creepy.

  • +1