One yr in the past this month, Microsoft introduced it might spend $68.7 billion to amass Activision Blizzard, highlighting how it might get “iconic franchises” together with Name of Obligation, Warcraft and Sweet Crush for that price. However now that avid gamers and regulators are worrying Microsoft would possibly hold Name of Obligation from showing on Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s legal professionals are out of the blue pretending they don’t know why Name of Obligation is particular.
And even when it got here out, for that matter.
As Matt Stoller notes, the corporate’s 37-page reply to the FTC lawsuit searching for to dam the Activision Blizzard deal consists of this laughable passage:
Microsoft avers that it lacks information or data adequate to kind a perception as to the reality of the allegations regarding business perceptions of Name of Obligation and Name of Obligation’s authentic launch date; or as to the reality of the allegations regarding Name of Obligation’s launch and typical launch schedule and the sources and funds Activision allocates to Name of Obligation, together with the variety of studios that work on Name of Obligation.
I’m wondering how lengthy it might take to determine Name of Obligation’s rel—oh, wait:
Even forgetting for a second that a lot of what Microsoft’s asking the FTC to show is eminently googleable, I don’t consider for a rattling second that Microsoft doesn’t have extra obscure particulars as properly, just like the budgets and tough headcounts of each Name of Obligation studio.
For one factor, Activision Blizzard in all probability coughed up these particulars as a part of the due diligence across the transaction earlier than Microsoft ever introduced it might spend $68 billion on the corporate. However even when that by some means didn’t occur, I think about Microsoft additionally has mounds of opposition analysis. Once I introduced you the easiest and most revealing emails from the Epic v. Apple trial, I got here throughout a 67-page doc from Microsoft’s “Gaming Enterprise Planning & Technique Crew” that broke down all of Microsoft’s predominant opponents in fairly quite a few methods, going as far as to estimate private data like how Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud gaming service was pulling in $359 million in 2019.
So sure, that is completely Microsoft taking part in dumb.
Supposed Name of Obligation exclusivity has been a thorn in Microsoft’s aspect for a lot of months, despite the fact that Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer has repeatedly insisted that the franchise will keep on rival consoles — Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel grilled him repeatedly about it on the Decoder podcast, and he didn’t dodge our questions. I’d advocate giving it a pay attention in the event you’re curious.