Microsoft Claims Call of Duty Will ‘100%’ Stay On PlayStation
Microsoft’s CEO has confirmed that the company plans to keep the promise that Call of Duty will stay on Sony’s PlayStation console.
CEO Satya Nadella and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick were called to testify in federal court to reinforce the argument that the tie-up won’t hurt competition, including Sony, when it comes to consoles and subscription-based games.
This case presents a massive test for the US Federal Trade Commission and its ability to block tech deals after it lost a challenge to acquire Meta Platforms earlier this year.
Microsoft CEO Nadella, said he will “100%” commit to keeping the Call of Duty game on Sony’s PlayStation.
Head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer also vowed to keep the promise.
US District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley is in charge of the decision on whether or not to halt the deal, with a July 18th closure date.
Microsoft and FTC’s attorneys spent almost 45 minutes on the stand, with the Judge asking Nadella if he plays Candy Crush, to which he responded “I do. And Call of Duty.”
Nadella claims he doesn’t support content exclusivity on consoles. “If it was up to me, I would love to get rid of” exclusives on consoles.
Sony, however, has “defined competition using exclusives.” Nadella responded with, “So that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.”
FTC’s argument is that this deal would harm the rivals of Microsoft, which includes Sony if Call of Duty is removed from PlayStations, and that the deal would weaken competition in the cloud market, which allows gamers to stream games to PCs and consoles, instead of downloading them.
Nadella was asked if he though cloud gaming would replace console gaming, arguing FTC’s cloud gaming concern is a stretch, since it is still being developed.
“It’s tough,” Nadella then went on to explain cloud gaming efforts haven’t “worked out” as well as had hoped.
Microsoft released a statement saying, “Satya made it abundantly clear that Microsoft will honor its commitments to its partners and the gaming community to bring more games to more players.”
This testimony comes after it was revealed that Activision will likely abandon the takeover bid if FTC wins a ruling that pauses the deal.
“My board’s view is if the preliminary injunction is granted, we don’t see how this deal will continue.”
Activision claimed that removing Call of Duty from PlayStation would be very “detrimental to our business,” and players would “revolt” if the game was pulled from any platform.
There was also a lack of enthusiasm for Activision games being put on subscription services, which leads the FTC to believe it will be harmed if the deal is completed.