Microsoft: Standard Oil of the Gaming Industry or Just Doing Business?


REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo


In late 2022, Microsoft announced that it plans to acquire the videogame company Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The news has caused a stir in the gaming industry, with many people left curious about how this may affect the industry moving forward. Let’s take a look at the acquisition and discuss why Sony is upset at the deal and why Microsoft plans to put Call of Duty on Nintendo Switch as part of their 10-year plan.

What Is Activision Blizzard?

Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest names in gaming. The company owns some of the most popular titles in gaming, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Hearthstone, StarCraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush. It also has joint ownership over Bungie’s Destiny franchise, which includes the popular title Destiny 2. With such a wide array of titles under its belt, it’s no wonder why Microsoft wants to acquire Activision Blizzard. The deal would give them ownership of some of the best-selling video games ever.

This deal also gives Microsoft access to Activision Blizzard’s extensive network of esports leagues, which will allow them to expand their own presence in that area. Additionally, they are now able to leverage their expansive cloud computing infrastructure to help optimize game development and delivery for these games. Finally, they can now offer exclusive content from these games on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, such as putting the Call of Duty franchise onto Xbox Game Pass.

Sony’s Disapproval

Sony, a longtime competitor of Microsoft, was quick to express their disapproval of this move by Microsoft. Sony accused Microsoft of violating antitrust laws by planning to acquire Activision Blizzard. They claim that by buying such a large chunk of the gaming market, Microsoft is able to control prices and squeeze out any competition from smaller developers. Sony warns that this deal could lead to higher prices for consumers due to a lack of competition in the industry. Sony also claims that since Xbox will now have exclusive rights to all Activision Blizzard titles for console play, gamers will be forced into buying an Xbox if they want to play these games, which would give Xbox an unfair advantage over other consoles like Sony’s PlayStation. Sony

fears that Microsoft will attempt to monopolize the gaming industry by continuing to buy out key competitors. As such, Sony, alongside disgruntled gamers, has already begun filing complaints against Microsoft with various regulatory bodies around the world, such as the Federal Trade Commission, in order to try and prevent this deal from going through.

Microsoft’s Plan for Call of Duty on Switch

In an attempt to avoid a potential FTC lawsuit, Microsoft reached an agreement with Nintendo to release Call of Duty installments on the Switch console for the next 10 years. Microsoft also agreed to release future installments of the series on Valve’s Steam marketplace at the same time Xbox receives them. This announcement has been met with mixed reactions from fans. Some are excited at the idea of being able to play their favorite game on a handheld device like the Nintendo Switch, while others are worried that it will dilute the quality or experience when playing online with friends who have different versions than they do since the quality and performance of the Switch does not meet those of next-generation consoles such as the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. Despite these worries though, many people are still looking forward to being able to play Call of Duty on whatever platform they choose without having to buy multiple copies or devices just for one game, even if it is just an attempt to dodge a lawsuit.

These agreements would allow Microsoft to capitalize on growing popularity amongst younger gamers who may prefer playing on a cheaper, portable console rather than a home one like an Xbox or PlayStation. This allows them to reach new markets where they may not have had a presence before due to previous restrictions or limitations with certain platforms.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard would have a major impact on how gamers play and purchase games moving forward. It gives Microsoft access to some of the most popular game franchises out there as well as an opportunity for them to expand into new markets, such as the Switch and esports leagues. While some are excited about what this could mean for gaming going forward and praise it as a smart business move, others are concerned about potential antitrust implications should Microsoft use its market power unfairly against competitors like Sony. Only time can tell how this will end as the gaming giants battle, but many eagerly anticipate the results.