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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Microsoft defends the $69 billion Activision deal.

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Microsoft believes the $68.7bn (£56.8bn) deal will give more players more choices. But rival Sony, who also attended the hearing, said the merger would give Microsoft too much control over some of the world’s most popular games. Sony owns the PlayStation, which is the main competitor to Microsoft’s Xbox console. Microsoft president Brad Smith described his EU hearings on Tuesday as “a big day.” He also dismissed Sony’s concerns that Activision Blizzard games, particularly Call of Duty, could be restricted to his Xbox users if the merger goes through.

In a statement, Activision Blizzard said: “We are confident regulators will find that our proposed merger will enhance competition and create greater opportunities for workers and better games for our players.” Chip designers Nvidia and Google were also understood to be present, although the hearing was not open to the press or public. Nvidia and Microsoft have announced a partnership that would enable both Xbox PC games and Activision Blizzard titles to become available via Nvidia’s cloud-streaming platform GeForce Now. The tech firm has to convince regulators around the world that the deal – the largest in gaming history – would not harm its competitors. Today was Microsoft’s final chance to put forward its case in Europe before the commission makes its decision.

Microsoft has promised to keep all current Activision Blizzard games available on Nintendo, Sony, and Steam platforms for at least the next decade but Sony has so far rejected that deal. The company’s previous acquisitions of game companies include Minecraft maker Mojang and Fallout maker Bethesda. Bethesda’s new game, Starfield, has already been announced to launch exclusively on Xbox.

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