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Sony Wants To Grow PlayStation By Making Xbox Smaller, Phil Spencer Says

"There has really only been one major opposer to the deal, and it's Sony."


Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has offered some strong words about rival Sony amid the battle over whether or not regulators allow Microsoft's bid to buy Activision Blizzard to go through. He said on the Second Request podcast that Sony is trying to grow its own business by making Xbox smaller.

"There has really only been one major opposer to the deal, and it's Sony. Sony is trying to protect their dominance on console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller," Spencer said. "They have a very different view of the industry than we do. They don't ship their games day and date on PC, they don't put their games into subscription when they launch their games. They're starting to think about mobile as I see from the outside, just reading some of the moves they're doing."

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Spencer went on to say that Sony grabbing onto Call of Duty in its argument as to why the deal should not be allowed to go through doesn't make sense to him. Spencer said Microsoft has said repeatedly that it will not take Call of Duty off PlayStation if its bid goes through. In fact, Spencer said he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Sony on the day it announced the deal to buy Activision Blizzard to say it intended to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation should the deal be accepted.

"But because Sony is leading all of the dialogue around why this deal shouldn't go through to protect their dominant position on console, the thing they grab onto is Call of Duty," he said.

Nintendo has accepted Microsoft's offer to put Call of Duty on Nintendo systems for 10 years, and Microsoft made a deal that Valve accepted for Call of Duty's future on PC as well (though Valve's Gabe Newell said an official contract wasn't necessary). Now, Microsoft is getting "slow-rolled" by Sony for its ongoing negotiations, Spencer said. And why? Because it helps Sony's position, theoretically, because "it's good fodder for the regulators to discuss this," Spencer said.

Microsoft won't take Call of Duty off PlayStation because doing so would be a bad business decision, Spencer said. PlayStation is the most popular console platform for the Call of Duty series, he said, and removing it from the system would take away "billions" in revenue. Spencer also reiterated that Call of Duty on PlayStation wouldn't be a second-rate experience if its deal to buy Activision Blizzard goes through, as Microsoft would launch the same version with the same features at the same time.

"The largest console maker in the world is raising an objection about one franchise that we've said will continue to ship on the platform. It's a deal that benefits customers through choice and access," Spencer said.

Microsoft's bid to buy Activision Blizzard has already been approved in places like Serbia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, but the UK and US have yet to weigh in with an official decision. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to have a closed-door meeting today, December 8, to discuss the deal and potentially determine if it will file an anti-trust lawsuit, as has been reported.

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