Microsoft negs Activision Blizzard to push through $68.7 billion acquisition

Microsoft is taking an interesting approach to gaining regulatory approval for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In a sighted by , the company told the New Zealand Trade Commission that it does not make “must have” games. Yes, you read it right.

“The video games developed and published by Activision Blizzard are not unique that would be a ‘must have’ for competing PC and console video game distributors that raise concerns about foreclosure,” the document reads. Put another way, Microsoft believes that owning the rights to Activision Blizzard’s bestsellers like Call of Duty won’t prevent competitors like Sony from competing against them.

At first glance, this seems like a nonsensical argument for a company that Microsoft wants to spend money to acquire. Still, it’s a claim the tech giant is making in response to its rivals. In one, Sony called Call of Duty “an essential game” and a AAA title “that has no rival.” It is argued that the franchise is so popular that it is influencing console purchases. Sony probably speaks from experience. In 2015, the company announced an agreement with Activision, which saw some Call of Duty content first.

Downplaying the importance of Call of Duty is just one of the ways Microsoft has tried to placate regulators. In February, the company will continue to make the franchise available on PlayStation consoles beyond the end of any agreements Sony and Activision had in place prior to the acquisition’s announcement. More recently, the company announced a collaboration with the Communications Workers of America, who were video game workers across the industry.

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