In late March, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated that in its opinion, Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard would not affect competition in the console gaming industry in that country. Today, the acquisition's biggest naysayer, Sony, published a response to the CMA's report and it pretty much slams its conclusions.
Sony's response (via Eurogamer) called the CMA's findings "surprising, unprecedented, and irrational" and claimed the report had "errors" when it came to assessing the economic impact if Microsoft were to make Activision's Call of Duty franchise an Xbox exclusive.
While the CMA now says it believes it would not be in Microsoft's best financial interest to keep Call of Duty away from PlayStation gamers, Sony says that if the game was turned into a first-party Xbox title, "Microsoft will not pay a margin to Activision for sales of Call of Duty." Sony also claims that "highly-engaged Call of Duty users (i.e., the users that the CMA says will switch to Xbox) generate significantly higher spending than average platform users."
Sony also points to a recent interview with Arkane's Harvey Smith, who stated that Microsoft would not allow a PlayStation version of its upcoming shooter Redfall after Arkane's parent company ZeniMax Studios was bought by Microsoft in 2021. Sony stated, "Even though the studio had already put in the work to make a PlayStation version of the game, Microsoft decided to terminate this work and make the game exclusive to Xbox." Microsoft has since put out a statement saying that it did not pull "any games from PlayStation".
Microsoft has pledged to offer Call of Duty games to Sony's PlayStation consoles for at least 10 years following the merger. Sony has stated in the past it doesn't believe Microsoft's word. It has also said previously that Microsoft could release versions of Call of Duty games on PlayStation consoles "where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates." That drew a personal response from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who says this was "obviously disappointing behavior" on Sony's part.
The UK's CMA is scheduled to issue its final report on the Microsoft purchase of Activision Blizzard on April 26.