We’re over six months on from Microsoft announcing plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, kicking off the lengthy process of gaining approvals from anti-trust organizations across the world. Most of the time, these investigations are highly secretive, but we do know that they involve seeking opinions from competing companies across the industry. Now thanks to recent filings in Brazil, documents containing these opinions have been posted online, giving us insight into what the likes of Sony, Ubisoft, WB and others think of the deal.
Recently, Brazil’s administration has been seeking feedback on the deal and posted documents online, giving us a look at what major publishers across the industry think of the impending merger. The list of companies included includes major rival console, Sony, as well as game publishers like Ubisoft, WB and Riot Games. Tech companies with an interest in the gaming market, like Google and Apple, were also contacted. Resetera user, Idas, discovered the filings on Brazil’s government website, and while much of the documents contain redacted information, we do get a good idea of where the industry stands on the deal.
Sony naturally has the most to say, as it competes with Microsoft on both the console hardware front and the software front. As we all know, great software can give a hardware platform an advantage over another. Sony points out that while it is possible for almost anyone to make and release a game nowadays, there are just a handful of developers capable of producing AAA titles. Sony also adds that it would be very difficult for another company to create a franchise to rival Call of Duty and that the IP is powerful enough to influence a consumer’s console choice.
Sony also estimates that Xbox Game Pass has captured up to 70 percent of the global subscription services market, and that it would take several years and a lot of investment to create a true competitor. There are concerns that the lower cost of a subscription will lead to upfront sales for games and will create a difficult competitive environment for developers who choose to release their game for an upfront fee, rather than packing it in a subscription.
WB, which has been toying with the idea of selling off its gaming division, is of the opinion that the industry has plenty of competition and adds that the industry does not have a high barrier for entry for developers to release software. Ubisoft is in a similar boat, saying that there are alternatives to Activision Blizzard games and putting forward the opinion that there is plenty of competition in the industry.
Riot Games and Bandai Namco also both responded with answers that suggest both companies believe there are alternatives to Activision Blizzard titles and lots of competition across the market.
The major tech companies, like Apple, Amazon, Meta and Google did not respond with much and most of their answers were redacted. Ultimately, none of them seem to have any interest in stopping the acquisition and acknowledge the distinction between the mobile games market and console/PC. However, Apple does seem to think that Apple Arcade is a competitor in the wider gaming market.
KitGuru Says: It doesn’t sound like there is much opposition to the acquisition amongst established publishers. Still, regulators like the FTC and the European Commission may have concerns and still need to finalize their own investigations into the acquisition.
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